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Kindle, You're Creeping Me Out
May 31, 2012 2:35 PM   Subscribe

How is it possible that the Kindle Touch is automatically turned on when you first open the box?

I just watched my sister open the box for her new Kindle Touch. As soon as the box was opened, the device was turned on showing a message on screen about connecting it to a computer. I noticed the same thing when I first opened the box for mine a few months ago. How is this possible? Is the box designed in such a way to turn the device on, or does the Kindle somehow just stay turned on in a low power setting?
posted by cropshy to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
E-ink doesn't require any power to be on, it only requires power to change (i.e., turn pages). I can't even get my kindle to show "blank", when you turn it off it just shows a pre-loaded image.
posted by brainmouse at 2:37 PM on May 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


Exactly what brainmouse said - think of it like a digital etch-a-sketch.
posted by jpeacock at 2:46 PM on May 31, 2012


I had a similar experience on first opening mine--I couldn't figure out how to remove whatever invisible film was covering the screen.

It's a nice little discovery moment and really illustrates the power of the e-ink screen.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:48 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not turned on. It's off and the Kindle displays what was last showing when it was turned off.
posted by dgeiser13 at 2:56 PM on May 31, 2012


Also, this is why a Kindle's battery life lasts so unbelievably long–because it's only actually using power when you turn the page. While you're reading the page, the device isn't using any power to hold that image on screen. (If you have WiFi on, it's using power for that. But not the screen!)
posted by InsanePenguin at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2012


Think of an e-Ink display like a pool table that is completely filled with cue balls. Each ball is white on one hemisphere, and black on the other.

When the screen is updated, the balls are rotated so that some are sitting with the black side up, others with the white side up. Only the updating requires power, the balls will happily sit in their pool table in the position they were left in without any power applied.

LCD screens require a constant electric field to keep the liquid crystal in the appropriate (on/off) state. They also require updates to the transistor network to change the state of a pixel.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:52 PM on May 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hmmm... E-Ink is creepier than I imagined. Anyway, thanks everyone for the answers.
posted by cropshy at 4:58 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


eink is nifty.
Fun fact - you can actually change the kindle from super-low-power 'sleep' to 'off' (and the reverse) by holding the slider for like 5 seconds.
posted by itheearl at 4:24 PM on June 5, 2012


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