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:
|Processor||1GHz TI OMAP 4430||$18|
|Display||7″ 1024 x 600 w/ IPS||$35|
|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|
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.