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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Kindle Fire Tear Down Details: It’s Less Expensive Than We Thought

One of the more obvious inevitabilities when a product like the Kindle Fire is released is a detailed tear down of the components.  It’s always interesting to find out what goes into making useful new electronics so functional, after all.  Recently iFixit was on the ball and ripped apart a new Kindle for our benefit.  Here’s what they found inside, along with some price estimates I was able to dredge up:

Part Estimated Price
Processor 1GHz TI OMAP 4430 $18
Display 7″ 1024 x 600 w/ IPS $35
Touchscreen Controller ILITEK
2107QS001K
A95B8F416
A2130B002
$25
Flash Memory 8GB Samsung KLM8GFEJA $8
RAM 512 MB Hynix H9TKNNN4K $5
Battery LI-ION Polymer 4400mAh/16.28Wh 3.7V $12
WLAN Jorjin WG7310 WLAN/BT/FM Combo Module $3
Misc Parts TI 603B107 Fully Integrated Power Management
TI LVDS83B FlatLink 10-135 MHz Transmitter
TI AIC3110 Low-Power Audio Codec w/ 1.3W Stereo Class-D Speaker Amplifier
TI WS245 4-Bit Dual-Supply Bus Transceiver
TI WL1270B 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Solution Total ~$25
Other Materials Case, Assembly, Etc $7
Manufacturing Costs ~$5
Total: ~$143

All of this seems to indicate that earlier assumptions about the lack of profit to be found in such a device as this were blown out of proportion.  The Kindle Fire seems to be not only a versatile device, but surprisingly simple and efficient at the hardware level.  While my estimates for pricing are, as always, pulled from several sources and estimated when necessary, there seems to be a great deal of confirmation about the majority of it.  I feel fairly confident that that comes within +-$15 of the actual cost.

Much of the focus of the tear down I am pulling from was also on potential serviceability of the device.  The Kindle 4 non-Touch, as we outlined our previous in-house tear down, was practically unserviceable due to the extreme use of adhesive throughout.  While some of that remains in this model, apparently the only real difficulties will come in when trying to replace cracked glass (which won’t be much of an issue as our earlier posted drop/scratch test demonstrated) and during the initial removal of the battery.  Unlike the Kindle 4, it was possible to work past this without destroying the entire device.

They were also able to refute those who assumed that, due to the connection with Quanta Computer and the similar external appearance, the Kindle Fire would be nothing but a clone of the Playbook.  Internally, the two are only very vaguely similar.

Basically, not only is Amazon making at least some profit off of each device, they are doing so by presenting customers with an experience that rivals some of their more technically powerful competition at a price that people are having no small amount of trouble competing with.  It’s durable, seems to have a long lifespan ahead of it, and generally serves its purpose well.  As expected this carries nowhere near the punch of something like the iPad on a technical level, but in the end that shouldn’t come as any surprise given the asking price.  All in all the Kindle Fire definitely carried a couple surprises.  It will be interesting to see what the next generation brings aside from a slightly larger screen.

Kindle Fire Review and Disassembly Coming Next…

Along with Kindle Touch that I’ve just reviewed I’ve also received to copies of Kindle Fire. One shall live happily ever after and enjoy long sessions of Angry Birds and another shall be dissected to see what exactly is there inside. But I’ll get some sleep first. Stay tuned!

Kindle 4 Disassembly – Part I

So my Keyboardless Kindle 4 (we can call it that since it is the first Kindle device to hit the market that features software 4.0) arrived late in the evening. Surely enough my curiosity got the better of me and armed with a screwdriver and tweezers I set out to take it apart and see what is inside.

Normally one would open a Kindle by prying the back cover off with something sharp and pointy (screwdriver or knife). Kindle 4 resisted my attempts to open it up and when I finally did I understood why – top and bottom latches are much stronger than the rest so you need to bend the center of the cover up to let them slide out. On top of that it turned out that back cover is glued to the internal battery cover with adhersive gel. You need to apply some force to pop it open. If you decide to repeat my steps – be warned that your warranty will definitely be voided. My Kindle 4 device bears clear signs of being opened. There is no way to do it gracefully. Clearly the K4 is not meant to be user-serviceable or serviceable period.

Popping the back cover off reveals battery and motherboard. Most of the interesting stuff is covered with metal and I’ll leave it at that for the time being. I don’t want to ruin the device until I play around with the software. But fear not – soon enough the mission will be complete and I’ll post pictures of bare motherboard even if I end up bricking the device.

kindle4-rfid-tag

Kindle-4-rfid-tag

On the back of the cover there is RFID tag manufactured by UPM. It reads “UPM + 253_1″. Perhaps it is used to automate the personalization process (Kindle comes to your doorstep already configured with your Amazon account. It turns out that Amazon started putting RFID tags inside Kindle 3 and I missed it during my last disassembly.

Kindle4-disassembly

kindle-4-disassembly

Internally Amazon uses T-6 screws rather than Philips like in Kindle 3.

Taking the cover off the LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery reveals its specs:

  • Model No: MC-265360
  • Rating (Voltage): 3.7V
  • Battery capacity: 890mAh (3.29Wh) – this is almost half that of Kindle 3. And not surprisingly Kindle 4 claims half the battery life of Kindle 3 – one month. Which is still plenty
  • Made in China by NcNair
  • Part Number: 515-1058-01
Kindle4 battery

Kindle 4 battery

WiFi chipset is Atheros AR6103T-BM2D 26AR0620.142D PAF284.1B 1126 made in Taiwan. This is very interesting because doing a Google search for AR6103T returns zero results. Nothing. The chip is not mentioned on the net at all. It is clearly a part of AR6103 chip family but seems to be a newer modification. AR6103 chips feature:

  • 2.4GHz 802.11b, 802.11g and 1-stream 802.11n. This means that it can only put though up to 72.2 Mbps in the 802.11n mode.
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2 (TKIP and AES) and WAPI encryption
  • 802.11e, WMM and WMM-PS QoS
  • 8.3mm x 9.2mm LGA package
Kindle4 Atheros WiFi Chip

Kindle 4 Atheros WiFi Chip

Small chip between battery and buttons is Winbond W25Q40BVIG is 512 kilobyte Quad SPI flash with clock speed of 104MHz, 3V power rating and erase block sizes of 4K, 32K and 64K. It has been in manufacture since Q3 2009. It sits right on wires that go to eInk screen. Screen model is ED060CF(LF)T1 REN60B7075(C62)

Kindle 4-Winbond-flash-W25Q40BVI

Kindle 4-Winbond-flash-W25Q40BVI

There is quite a bit of free space around the battery that could have been used for one or some of the following:

  • Larger battery
  • Speakers or at least audio-codec and mini-jack headphone connector
  • 3G modem
  • Memory card (SD or MMC) reader

Perhaps Amazon will add some of these things in the future. Or perhaps they will leave this space empty forever to keep the weight and cost down.

If there is a serial console like in previous Kindle generations, it is not obvious or easily accessible.

To be continued… Continued here: Kindle 4 disassembly – part II