LG flares at Amazon’s Kindle 2 with new solar powered eBook reader

LG flares at Amazon’s Kindle 2 with new solar powered eBook reader The eBook reader space continues to get more crowded with Amazon’s Kindle 2, Sony and soon Barnes & Noble all jockeying for market share. Now LG, manufacturer of cell phones and LCD TVs is jumping into the eBook reader space with a solar powered device in 2012 that could eventually operate without ever charging from an electrical outlet.

That would go a long way in appealing to readers who still like the portability of paper-based books without the need to ever plug in for a charge. The new eBook reader would feature a 10 centimeter square solar cell, .7 millimeters thick and weighing 20 grams.

Right now the device would require exposure to sunlight for four to five hours to power day’s worth of reading, according to OLED Display. For an average reader that could work in for an extension once in a while but regularly remembering to leave the eBook reader in a sunny place every day could get overbearing.

LG is working on improving the power efficiency though, and solar cells continue to make gains in capturing solar power. Right now the device has an energy conversion efficiency of about 9.6%, and LG hopes to raise that to 14% prior to commercialization.

In the meantime Amazon’s Kindle 2 is moving through an internationalization growth spurt which is putting it squarely in the crosshairs for having limited functionality outside the United States. eBooks also cost about 40% more outside the U.S. due to “higher operating costs” and there is a lot of speculation as to what causes those price hikes. Some of it may be AT&T’s network charging more for international delivery.

That highlights a key challenge any incumbent to the space will face, which is to build an online store with adequate selection and availability for its users. Amazon is heartily pursuing new content and so are Barnes & Noble and Sony.

Comments

I'm not sure I'd want to leave my e-book reader in the sun for four or five hours, E-ink has been known to fade after a short exposure to direct sunlight. My Kindle  is good for about a week after charging the battery for two hours and you can still read while charging.

Ahhhhh...sunshine!  Living in the upper Midwest, in the winter we often go days at a time without much sunlight.  Perhaps solar extended, traditionally recharged batteries would be a better solution?

I've got the elonex and the battery life is amazing

"efficiency of about 9.6%, and LG hopes to raise that to 14%"

Thin film at 14%, thats going to be a hard goal to reach.