Amazon's new Kindle Fire stripped naked
Divining the entrails of the low-cost iPad competitor
Amazon's Kindle Fire – arguably the most-anticipated fondleslab since Apple's iPad – was released on Tuesday, and already the techno-haruspicationists at iFixit have torn one apart and examined its entrails.
One reason, of course, is the Fire's price: at $199, it's a much less wallet-straining tablet than the iPad, which runs from $499 to $829.
So does the Fire's bargain-basement price make it a cheap 'n' cheesy also-ran to the iPad? Not if what iFixit found inside is any guide.
For one, there's a 3.7-volt lithium-ion polymer battery with a hefty 16.28Wh/4400mAh capacity. However, despite its heft it doesn't match the specs of the iPad 2's battery trio.
But it shouldn't need to. The Kindle Fire's battery, after all, only lights up a 1024-by-600-pixel, 7-inch display, while the iPad 2's 1024-by-768-pixel, 9.7-inch display is understandably more power-hungry.
The Fire's logic board includes an impressive enough collection of chips for a $199 device – although with only 6GB of the internal 8GB of flash RAM available to users, you're not going to be carrying around your entire audio or video collections. In addition, all Amazon content is stored – where else? – in the cloud.
As color-coded by iFixit, mounted on the top of the logic board are the following:
- Red: 8GB of flash memory – Samsung KLM8G2FEJA
- Orange: 512MB of mobile DDR2 RAM – Hynix H9TKNNN4K
- Yellow: power management IC – Texas Instruments 603B107
- Teal: 10-135MHz transmitter – Texas Instruments LVDS83B
- Blue: Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth, FM IC – Jorjin WG7310M
On the underside of the board are an audio chip (Texas Instruments AIC3110) and a bus-management chip (Texas Instruments WS245).
'But where's the CPU?' you might logically ask. Well, it's nestled underneath that 512MB Hynix RAM chip, which iFixit discovered when they decoupled the two chips using a heat gun.
Hiding under the RAM chip is another Texas Instruments part: a dual-core OMAP 4430 (click to enlarge)
The CPU is a 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430, which includes dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores and an Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX540 graphics core.
Texas Instruments also makes a 1.5GHz OMAP 4460, so we'll be anxious to see if the choice of its slower sibling was a wise battery-life/performance trade-off.
As you may have noticed, it appears that the Fire team spent a lot of time in Dallas, Texas – the new Amazonian tablet is chock-full of TI parts.
There's not all that much to worry about inside the Fire, and it's all easy to access (click to enlarge)
The folks at iFixit – as their name might indicate – are not only purveyors of DIY (and FIY) parts and tools, they're also strong advocates of gadget design that allows for easy repair. And they've found a friend in the Fire – it's easy to open and easy to reassemble.
As they told us in an email: "Two years down the line – when the battery decides to go kaput – it will be significantly easier to replace the battery in the Kindle Fire than its Apple competitor."
You can find the entire 33-photo iFixit teardown here. ®
For the average punter.
It is all a question of perception, is it not? The average non-techie simply does not think about his shiny in terms of your gigantic carping-list. The issue is will he/she regard the overall experience (content access included) as enjoyable and acceptable *at that pricepoint*. It is how the punter regards the total package that will determine to what extent the Fire will take sales that the iPad otherwise would have had - not any of us waving spec/performance lists in his/her face. For the money this appears to be a steal - but that's just my opinion. Let's see what the first quarter's sales are, shall we?
You missed one-
has no army of whiny fanbois
Actually, it's an attractive option for those who might have bought a iPad, and then looked at the price and redundancy and said "screw that, what an enormous waste of money."
It's a fraction of the price.
And I can fit it into a coat pocket, unlike the iPad. I don't need to carry a bag around.
And I don't care what it looks like, no more than I care what my hammer looks like, nor the cover of the book I'm reading.
My 'phone has a calender. And GPS. And a headphone socket. And a mic. And a camera. Why would I need to carry TWO of all of those things? You'd have to be some kind of muppet to want that kind of redundancy, and I seriously doubt that anyone carrying an iPad isn't carrying a mobile phone as well.
And I can use it in public without being either mobbed by sad fanbois waving their own Jobs devices at me, nor being despised as the pedestrian equivalent of a Porsche driver to the rest of the world.
And are you *seriously* whining because it doesn't come with a micro USB lead and some cheap headphones? That's like complaining that your tin of beans didn't come with a fork. I have about six of both, and don't need any more. Do you really use the crappy headphones supplied with electronics anyway? You really buy a £400+ bit of kit, and use the tinny pieces of trash supplied with it?
Not having personally used one yet, I'll have to take comments in interface and touch screen with a pinch of salt, because I don't automatically trust everything that marketing people and journos tell me.
Did anyone say it was 'better' than an iPad?
Nope. Nice list though, +12 fanboy iPoints to you.
Down with this sort of thing.