The Kindle Fire Spills Its Guts


The Kindle Fire is out, and in characteristically eager fashion, iFixit has dug in.

Although the life of being an (NAS: AMZN) supplier may not be as glamorous as that of an Apple (NAS: AAPL) supplier at this juncture, it also probably won't cut both ways. Amazon wields some weight, but not quite as much as Cupertino does.



Here's what we already knew about the hardware from the technical details Amazon provides: 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS technology, 8 GB of onboard storage, dual-core processor, no camera, and Wi-Fi only connectivity (no 3G). Since it was also put together by Quanta, the same shop that makes Research In Motion's (NAS: RIMM) PlayBook, we can expect some internal similarities.

Let's see what the iFixit technicians ended up finding lurking inside.

  • Samsung provides the 8 GB of flash memory storage.

  • Hynix sources 512 MB of RAM.

  • Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) supplies a power management integrated circuit, flatlink transmitter, low-power audio codec, dual-supply bus transceiver, a dual-core ARM Holdings (NAS: ARMH) -based OMAP 4430 processor, and an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi chip.

  • Ilitek provides the touchscreen controller.

  • LG Display manufactures the LCD display.

Texas Instruments is the clear winner as the provider of the bulk of the most critical components, including the CPU and audio codec. The similar PlayBook sports the same OMAP 4430 processor from TI, although it has 1 GB of RAM to boot. Quanta switched from TriQuint Semiconductor for the Wi-Fi chip and ditched Wolfon's audio codecs.

Cypress Semiconductor had provided the touchscreen controller for the PlayBook, and there are rumors that Atmel (NAS: ATML) has won the spot in the next generation from Ilitek, which is expected in 2012. Next year's model is also reported to have a larger screen and to sport NVIDIA's (NAS: NVDA) quad-core Tegra 3.

Amazon is estimated to have up to 5 million units produced in 2011 to accommodate the all-important holiday shopping season. This figure would be shy of the 11.1 million iPads that Apple sold last quarter, but it's a very healthy start when compared with the PlayBook and Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) Xoom, which have shipped 700,000 and 790,000 units thus far, respectively.

The current Kindle Fire's hardware is the only thing that really lags, as some initial reviews have pointed out, but that's what happens when you go for a $199 price point.

Add to your Watchlist to see who's inside the next Kindle Fire, and get access to this free report on three component suppliers that are cashing in on the mobile revolution.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of, Apple, Cypress Semiconductor, Atmel, and ARM Holdings, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Texas Instruments, and TriQuint Semiconductor.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Cypress Semiconductor, NVIDIA,, and Apple, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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