Amazon has a new Kindle ad titled, “The Book Lives On.” There are five main messages:
- Over 800,000 Books
- No Glare
- Easy to Read in Bright Sunlight
- Lighter Than a Paperback
- Battery Life of up to a Month
The Kindle uses an E Ink display, or in technical jargon a reflective electrophoretic display. These types of displays can have glare, but the one used in the Kindle doesn’t. And I applaud Amazon’s focus on people who read: a non-glare display is easy on the eyes. I’m not sure whether or not the 9.7-inch IPS LCD in the iPad has glare, but the overall experience is extreme glare due to the cover glass.
Reflective displays are much easier to read in sunlight than transmissive displays. They don’t have backlights and rely on surrounding light. When the Kindle is in a bright environment it is very easy to read because there is a lot of light to reflect. On the other hand when it gets dark it is impossible to see, just like a real book; you’d better have a book light handy. The lack of a backlight is one of the reason why the battery lasts for up to a month. The other reason is that electrophoretic displays only require energy when changing states, say from black to white. Static texts or images consume zero power. Electrophoretic displays are power misers and are as green as green can get when it comes to power consumption.
On the other hand transmissive displays have backlights, like the iPhone, notebook PC, monitor, or LCD TV. When the device is on the backlight is on and it consumes a lot of power. But the good thing is that with a lot of light being pumped out color is great. The iPad uses one of the very best transmissive LCDs using IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology that display brilliant colors. But because it consumes a lot of power it only lasts about ten hours.
As I was watching the video I thought marketing overreached a bit. Can you think of anyone you know who enjoys reading books in bright sunlight? I’m not talking about underneath a parasol or a big tree. I mean in bright sunlight. Know anyone? I don’t. Amazon marketing wanted to make sure we knew for sure that the Kindle was for sure better than the iPad in the sun. For sure. Instead of bright sunlight, Amazon would have gotten the message across loud and clear with just: Easy to Read Outside. You see, whether in bright sunlight or regular sunlight the iPad, outside, sucks. If reading is your thing, at just US$139 the Kindle is quite a bargain.