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Amazon’s existing Kindle e-reader. (Amazon photo)

Amazon is announcing a new Kindle next week, and if a Wall Street Journal report out today is to be believed, that device will have a rechargeable case to extend the battery life of the popular e-reader.

The removable cover may allow Amazon to sell a thinner and lighter device that gets adequate battery life for bedside reading, but can get a longer lifespan with a little added bulk. The report also claims that Amazon is working on a solar-powered model, helping it appeal to those looking to reduce environmental impact.

In the past, Kindle battery life hasn’t been much of a concern. Since the monochrome e-ink display doesn’t have a backlight or update very often (only on the page flip), it doesn’t chew through battery. And most of a Kindle’s tasks don’t require much processing power, so battery impact from the CPU is minimal. This has allowed Kindles to stay ultra-light while still getting about two weeks of battery life.

A battery enclosure wouldn’t be the first case from Amazon though. The company has long sold simple covers for its Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. However, a battery case with or without a solar charger is something new for the company.

While third-party manufacturers have created similar options (to mixed reviews), Amazon could make one with special features only available to a first party since it also controls the Kindle software. Apple has seen success with that tactic, releasing a battery case that may not look great but syncs up with software for improved performance.

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