April 12, 2012 -- Ever since the first EInk e-reader was introduced in 2004, there's been one glaring issue with the technology category-- it's still hard to read books in the dark. Why hasn't the new technology been able to replace what now seems like outdated technology -- the book light?
Today, Barnes and Noble has solved that issue with its new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. As its name suggests, the $139 e-reader has a built-in light for helping read in the dark.
"There are a lot of issues with book lights--you have to remember to have the light, it's not a uniform lighting experience, and none of the lights are adjustable. That's why we worked so hard on the GlowLight in our new Nook," Barnes & Noble's President of Digital Products Jamie Iannone told ABC News.
The new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight looks similar to the current $99 Simple Touch Nook -- it has a comfortable rubberish back, an eInk, infared touchscreen so you can swipe to turn pages and tap a word to look up the meaning. But now when you hold the Nook button on the bottom of the frame the light built into the e-reader turns on to illuminate the entire page you are reading. You can also adjust the brightness with a slider on the touchscreen. (Also, the new 7-ounce GlowLight Nook is slightly lighter than the non-glowing version.)
According to Iannone, Barnes and Noble spent a considerable amount of time coming up with the patent-pending technology to make sure the entire screen lit up and was still able to be glare free and readable outside.
One of the reasons others haven't done this before has been battery life, but according to Barnes and Noble, the new Nook will last a full month with the screen turned on and two months with the screen turned off.
Part of that battery life has to do with the display. The Nook still uses EInk screen technology, which is black and white, to make it easy to read inside and out.
And that's what Barnes and Noble is really selling here. "Now you have a reader that you can read outdoors in very bright sun or inside in complete darkness. It is the first reader where people haven't had to compromise."
Unlike the iPad you can read outside on the Simple Touch and unlike the Kindle you can read in the dark. Iannone also called out that all of Barnes and Noble's Nooks are ad free; unlike the $79 Kindle which has ad-based screensavers.
Barnes and Noble and Amazon continue to duke it out in the e-reader market. Barnes and Noble currently offers over 2.5 million digital books, magazines and newspapers for its Nook devices.
The new Nook will be available for pre-order today for $139 and shipping in early May.