Tear Down of Amazon’s Kindle Fire Shows Texas Instruments Dominates Guts
By Ian Paul
If you’ve been wondering what makes Amazon’s Kindle Fire media tablet tick, the teardown kings at iFixit have the answer for you. The DIY-focused site took apart the latest entrant into the tablet wars to see which components were hiding beneath the Fire’s slick outer shell. We actually know a lot about the Fire’s internals already such as its Texas Instruments OMAP 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB onboard storage, and a 1024-by-600 LCD display.
But having a look inside the device is always fun so you can see exactly what’s powering your gadget. IFixit found a few interesting things such as which TI OMAP dual-core processor the Fire uses. You can also see how much battery Amazon was able to pack into its new device and exactly how much trouble you’ll have repairing your device should the glass panel have an untimely meeting with the sidewalk.
That’s One Big Battery
As is typical of most mobile devices these days, the Fire’s 4400 mAh battery takes up the bulk of the media tablet’s internal space measuring 4.6-inches tall by 4.3-inches wide. The Fire’s external casing measures 7.5-inches tall and 4.7-inches wide. But that’s nothing compared to the three batteries packed inside the iPad 2.
Amazon promises the Fire’s battery life will last up to 7.5 hours of video playback or 8 hours of continuous reading on one charge with the Wi-Fi radio turned off.
We already knew Amazon was using a 1 GHz dual-core OMAP processor from Texas Instruments and iFixit confirms the device is sporting TI’s OMAP 4430. This is the same processor inside the BlackBerry PlayBook.
On top of the OMAP 4430 sits the Fire’s 512MB of DDR2 mobile RAM made by Hynix.
LCD Easily Replaced
DIY types will be happy to find out that replacing the LG-made LCD panel will be relatively easy since it is not fused to the glass panel as it is in some mobile devices such as the iPhone 4. But replacing the Fire’s front glass is another matter since it is fused to the plastic frame. That means you either have to use a heat gun to get the glass panel off or replace the components entirely, according to iFixit.
Overall, iFixit gave the Kindle Fire high marks for making a device that was easy to crack open. “Although its plain design (no volume buttons, cameras, etc.) meant fewer components, we had no hesitation in rewarding the Fire with a sterling 8 out of 10 for repairability,” iFixit said.
Amazon’s $200 Fire could be a big seller this holiday season as a budget alternative to more full-featured tablets such as the $500-$830 iPad. The online retailer’s Android-based device is being praised for its seamless integration with Amazon’s content store and solid hardware. Although critics aren’t entirely pleased with its Web browsing capabilities or its small 7-inch screen for reading large format items such as magazines and comic books.