E-Readers first became popular when the original Amazon Kindle debuted in 2007. A few years later Barnes and Noble started to sell e-books and release a slew of devices, ditto for Kobo. It was during this period in which if you wanted to read at night, you had to invest in a book light or a case with the light built in. It wasn’t until 2012 that Barnes and Noble unveiled the Nook Simple Touch with glowlight, the first e-reader had the lighting system built into it. Later that year almost every major vendor in North America, Europe and Russia started to adopt this technology.
The Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight broke e-reader conventions in 2012 when it shipped with 5 small LED lights inside the top of the bezel that projected light downwards. This makes it easier to read because unlike a smartphone or tablet, the light isn’t projecting directly into your eyes. Sadly the Nooks lighting system was blue, instead of pure white. Despite the color, it was one of Barnes and Noble’s most successful e-reader ever.
The Kindle Paperwhite really refined front-lit technology and the experience for the reader was brilliant. Amazon decided to put the LED lights on the bottom of the bezel and was the first e-reader whose light enhanced the e-paper, not detract from it.
How has front-lit screen technology evolved over the last several years? Today we have a video where we look at the lightning system on the Kobo Glo HD, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD and the Kobo Aura H2O.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.