Amazon announced a new type of Kindle reader at Thursday’s press event held in California. Unlike previous Kindle readers with an E Ink display, this one can be read in the dark thanks to some clever lighting that makes the screen glow.

The refreshed Kindle Touch drops the home button previously located in the center of the device under the screen and adds a unique lighting fiber optic lighting technique that enhances the contrast in the E Ink display considerably. It’s the first E Ink display in the Kindle line to feature lighting of any kind. Previously, you’d have to incorporate an external light source in order to read anything on a Kindle unless you had the Kindle Fire which has entirely different screen technology altogether.

Rumors had been circulating around the blogosphere about this lit Kindle reader for weeks, fueled in part by the Nook’s GlowLight which came out earlier this year. Further adding to this speculation was an advertisement that ran during the NFL season kickoff (embedded below). The ad also featured what some believed to be a larger tablet, spurring additional speculation over a larger Kindle Fire.

During the event, a new ad came out detailing the sharper, whiter screen complete with a build-in light source. With 25 percent more contrast and 212 ppi which gives the screen 62% more pixels.

The touch screen on the PaperWhite is capacitive, and the display itself is backed by a flattened fiber optics intended to keep the lighting even. Light is directed directly to the display to provide brighter, clearer luminance.

Specs and Features

  • PaperWhite display
  • Battery Life: 8 Weeks (With Light On)
  • Bezel Width: 9.1mm
  • Pixel Density: 212ppi
  • Screen Size: 6″
  • Time to Read
  • Author Bios
  • X-Ray
  • Free 3G (Optional)

Final Thoughts

At $119 for the Wi-Fi and $179 for 3G, the price for this device certainly fits within the area of impulse for many geeks out there that love the contrast and eye-friendly nature of E-Ink but would appreciate the enhanced display.

The current $79 Kindle reader is still going to be available at the lower price of $69. It’s hard to compete with a screen that has 62% more pixels in the same 6″ diagonal space.

Image: The Verge