B&N Announces E Ink Nook With “GlowLight” Backlight

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Nook Simple Touch Backlight

An updated Nook Simple Touch e-reader, announced Thursday, includes a simple yet highly-requested feature for E Ink devices: lighting. The updated e-reader from Barnes & Noble addresses one of the primary concerns about e-ink technology, the inability to read in dark or dimly-lit conditions, and the company hopes that its innovative approach to the technology will give it an advantage over e-ink rival Amazon and LCD-rival Apple.

Named GlowLight, the lighting system deployed in the Nook Simple Touch is not technically a backlight, since limitations inherent in e-ink technology prohibit one. Instead, GlowLight is a series of LED lights embedded in the product’s frame around the screen which, when activated, give the impression of a backlight, making it possible to read in low-light situations.

The brightness of the GlowLight can be adjusted to suit the reader and, when turned off, the screen returns to that of a typical E Ink device with all of its standard advantages over LCD, including the ability to read in direct sunlight.

With the rise of Apple’s iPad and the projected decline in sales of competing products from Amazon, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight might be the feature that keeps Barnes & Noble, and E Ink technology, alive and well in the e-reader wars. 

The “Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight” is available for pre-order now from the Barnes & Noble website for US$139 with an expected ship date of May 1. Once released, the device will also be on sale in Barnes & Noble retail stores, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart if you want to see one in person.

TMO has contacted Barnes & Noble for a review sample and we hope to have a full test run and review of the device for you soon.

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