I know some friends, who are about my own age, and who would swear, that as long as they own a tablet, on which the Amazon Kindle app can be installed and run, they see no need for a physical, Kindle Device. And the main reason seems to be their old-school thinking, that one highly-versatile device, need not be replaced by more-specialized devices, the features of one are a subset of another.
( Updated below on 07/30/2017 … )
My friends date back to the era, before Lithium-Ion batteries, when the more-versatile devices were simply plugged into an A/C outlet, and assumed to run indefinitely. They would probably ask me, ‘You own a more-versatile Tablet. Why did you go ahead and buy a Kindle Device?’
I can think of two answers:
- I want to have the technology, and
- I actually want the leisure, of being able to read an entire book and relax while doing so.
A long time ago, essentially all forms of 2D displays were active displays. There existed LED and LCD, which had in common, that they had their own light-sources, which during full sunlight, need to overpower the sunlight, in order to define white as anything brighter than black. While the origin of LCDs was to overcome this – during the last century – the fact that LCDs needed to be transformed into high-res, full-color displays, meant that they needed backlights, approximately 50% of the light-energy of which they did not absorb and allowed through, for typical images. Their claim to being ‘transfelctive’ was long on the transmissive, but short on the reflective. When this sort of an ‘improved’ LCD was required to act as a reflective display, it generally scattered back less than 50% of the incident light-energy, and with the typical glass shields in front of them, the glare during bright light was made even worse.
As some of my readers already understand, when the Kindle was first invented, it also pioneered the use of a kind of passive display, which was at some point in time named ‘e-Paper’. It’s quite apart from LCD-technology, in that in reflective mode, the pixels of it that are meant to be white, actually scatter back more than 80% of the incident light. And black pixels are truly dark. So the surface is as readable by default, as a sheet of paper would be, with ink printed on it. And it requires about as much battery-charge to run, as a sheet of paper (exaggeration intentional here), since it’s not generally required to act as a light-source.
Now, in the way some people think, this fact might get obscured, by the fact that modern Kindles employ a kind of e-Paper, with an additional backlight. In theory, I can turn the backlight completely down, to conserve the battery-life as much as possible, at which point the bright pixels take on a slightly yellowish tint, much like older, browned paper would. But the text is just slightly more readable, when there is non-zero backlight. And, if I am ever to read in a dark room, I’ll need non-zero backlight for sure.
Because I’m a slightly older man, I also have slightly poorer vision, than I did as a teenager, and so I think I actually need slightly more backlight (a level numbered ’10’) , than an average teenager would need, to read in a partially-lit environment. In a completely dark room, I’d turn up the backlight even higher than that.
To be completely up-to-date about it, the back-lit Kindles are not even the most-modern, because by now, there exist Kindles with e-Paper and a Front-Light. But on my own terms, I actually consider the slightly more-basic Kindles, such as the PaperWhite, to be better, than the most-recent models, that offer endlessly-more features, and that consume more battery-charge than mine would.
On an Android tablet, the battery actually prevents us from reading anything for more than a few hours – maybe 2 or 3 tops – at a time. This used to stand in my way of rediscovering reading. Now, a Kindle will allow me to read more than a whole book, at whatever time of day seems convenient, and without interrupting me with a depleting battery.
So I have downloaded a book to start with, which I had read only partially as a child – that having been “Time And Again” by Clifford D. Simak. It has a style of Sci-Fi writing which is certainly outdated by now, but which I feel comfortable with. I’ve gotten to Chapter XXIII on my Kindle, which is about 47% complete, and I’m well into the parts of the book that I failed to read as a teenager, when this book was in paperback format.
And once I’ve finished with a practice-book that I partially read before – that should be easy material – I will hopefully start to read more-serious books, that are completely new to me.
I should add, that the older generation of technophiles – such as myself – were used to having to exit most apps and to park the device in some sort of a home-screen – on actual PCs this meant navigating back to the desktop-view – before the device was stable enough to be put into standby. This had perfectly valid reasons.
But then another advantage of the Kindle is, the fact that this need is greatly-reduced. We don’t need to go all the way back to the Home-Screen, before we close the flip-lid of the (additional) case. Putting a Kindle away is as carefree as the action was, just to close a book and put that away, during moments which do interrupt our reading.
Personally, I don’t actually put the device into standby in the middle of a page. I go back out into the Library page. But after that, when I tap on a certain book again, the device ‘remembers’ which page I was on. And this is about as easy for me to use, as it once was, to close a book and toss it aside.
What takes some getting used to, is the fact that this sort of display-technology doesn’t display transitions or animations properly. But then in addition to having the e-Paper, another reason could be – It doesn’t have a GPU! Imagine that: Some sort of mysterious display-technology, with no GPU !
(Edit : )
When I first took the Kindle out of its box, its backlight-intensity was set much higher than 10, as if to make sure that any customers would be able to read it. The display at first shows instructions on how to get started with the Kindle itself, and if the customer could not read the display at first, he might never learn exactly how to use his device.
The actual initial bitmap on the e-Paper display contains a pictogram about where the power-button is to wake it up, etc.. That bitmap is fully visible, even with the backlight off.
When I took my Kindle out of its packaging, I mistakenly thought this bitmap-pictogram was a paper sticker, even though I had already read about e-Paper. And so I tried gently to peel this sticker off, until the backlight came on, and the pictogram changed!
Luckily, I did not try hard enough, to damage the e-Paper display. Please don’t try to pry this pictogram off, when and if you receive your own Kindle.
(Edit 07/30/2017 : )
This morning I finished the e-Book. What this seems to imply, is that I have regained my energies, towards being able to read Literature. For the longest time, I had not been able to do so, only to read technical writings.