Two Years In and Kobo is Still Missing the Mark on its Color-Changing Frontlight
With the Clara HD leaking yet again in advance of tomorrow’s announcement, the launch is now less breaking news than fait accompli.
I don’t know that I will be writing much about the Clara HD; aside from the color-changing frontlight, the Clara HD is a fairly ordinary looking 6″ ereader (it is essentially the Kobo Glo HD in a nicer shell and running newer software).
But I did have one thought I wanted to put out there, and see if anyone felt the same way.
It has to do with the frontlight.
Kobo was the first ereader maker to replace the white LEDs used in a frontlight with RGB LEDs. This feature showed up in the Aura One a couple years ago, and ever since then Kobo has been using the color LEDs to give its ereaders what is commonly known as a bluelight filter.
A bluelight filter is when the blue wavelengths of light emitted from a screen are lessened or disabled, leaving the screen looking some shade of reddish-orange (science says that it helps with your sleep when you use a gadget at night).
It’s a nice feature to have, but here’s the thing: Kobo could be doing so much more with RGB LEDs.
I’ve had a Clara HD for a couple weeks now, and in that time I have come to wish it had two additional features. I will tell you about the one feature tomorrow, and the second item on my wishlist is more color options for the frontlight.
The bluelight filter option is nice for those who use it, but I don’t care for the reddish-orange color. Instead, I want to use the frontlight to enhance the reading experience in ways that will both make users happier and make ereaders more accessible.
I think it would be great if users were able to set the frontlight so it has the same color as, say, the faded yellow page of an old paperback or the cream page found in a high-quality hardback. Furthermore, adding yellow as an option would help dyslexic readers. Research has shown that black text on a yellow background actually easier for dyslexic readers to comprehend.
All of these options – and more – are theoretically possible with the existing hardware if Kobo would only enable the software features to support them.
Kobo has not done so, and we don’t know why. It might be that no one inside Kobo wanted this feature enough to lobby for it, or it might not actually be possible with the current hardware.
I can’t do anything about the latter, but what I can do is show there is a desire for this feature.
I for one would use a cream color option on the frontlight if Kobo offered it.
How about you? What frontlight color would you like to use on your ereader?