By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 30, 2012 12:31 PM EDT
Amazon has posted a new YouTube video showing its team of engineers who have worked on the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, explaining the technology that makes it a top device.
A large part of the video shows the engineers talking about how the Kindle Paperwhite is the device Amazon always wanted to make, and how it has worked for eight years to perfect the technology.
The Kindle Paperwhite delivers sharpness and brightness suitable for many conditions, but the video shows the technology is more than that. Reading a book with the area around the letters shining brightly is neither optimal nor desirable, and the Kindle Paperwhite aims to deliver a reading experience comparable to a real book. With this in mind, the Kindle team has decided to shine light from the side of the display across it and down toward the screen, though a thin reflecting film layer measuring just 0.5mm. The film captures light and bounces it from one end to another. This way, the light shines off the display and is reflected back up.
The area around the rim of the display is called the Light Guide. It is nano-imprinted and acts like a fiber-optic cable, dispersing light through itself and down towards the screen instead of up at the reader's eye. The crew reportedly chose the best LEDs they could find and adjusted the construction of the Light Guide from tight to loose, so one light source could be used in an even manner.
"People have tried to do frontlighting on displays for years," said Rob Zenher, senior manager for display hardware. Amazon has managed to achieve an even amount of light coming out of the screen by adjusting the pattern, but balancing light quality with battery life was a real challenge.
"We spent a lot of time looking at how many LEDs to put in, how hard to drive them, how bright we could get it without impacting the battery life," explained Zenher. The new Kindle Paperwhite offers an eight-week battery life with 30 minutes of operation a day.
According to Amazon, the Kindle Paperwhite sports significant improvements compared to the previous model, including 62 more pixels, 25 percent better contrast, new adjustable fonts (six font styles and eight sizes), better battery performance, and a new "Time to Read" feature that calculates a user's reading speed to indicate how much is left of the chapter.
The Kindle Paperwhite, introduced earlier this month, has already generated strong interest. Amazon's new flagship e-reader is available for pre-order now. The Wi-Fi model with ads comes with a $119 price tag, while the 3G model with ads costs $179. Originally the Kindle Paperwhite was supposed to ship on Oct. 1, but the company faced high demand which pushed back the shipping. Any pre-orders place now will not arrive until Oct. 22.
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