Among many of the gadgets creating a buzz before CES even started was the Solar Lighted Cover for Kindles from SolarFocus. I stopped by the booth upon arriving at the show to get a close-up look.
The solar-powered case is durable and sleek, with a cover that can charge your Kindle to full with a day's worth of light. The internal battery charges to full with 8 hours of sunlight, which provides 50 hours of continuous use for the LED light, or up to an 80% charge for a Kindle.
The main difference between this cover and other Kindle covers featuring lights is not necessarily the solar panel, but rather how the internal battery works. Most covers draw the power used to run the LED light from the Kindle itself, draining the power and cutting your reading time. This cover draws power for the light from the internal battery, not from your device. This difference provides as much as three times more reading time than other covers. And recharging the Kindle can be done as needed with just the push of a button on the top of the cover.
What I also like about the solar cover is that it isn't exactly light. It's not heavy, but you feel weight in your hand and the solar panel on the front thickens that half of the cover just a bit -- which for book lovers is a big plus. It makes the Kindle feel much more like you're holding an actual book and that can add to the reading experience. Well, that and the fact that you practically never have to plug in as long as there's some sunlight available.
These covers will be on the market by January 15th and will retail for about $80.