In terms of tech specifications, the Kindle Fire HD improves upon its predecessor with a faster processor (Texas Instruments’ dual-core OMAP 4460 applications processor selected over the OMAP 4430 featured in the original Kindle Fire). The OMAP 4460 can be clocked at up to 1.5 GHz. What is interesting about the discovery of the OMAP 4460 is that Amazon had indicated that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch would incorporate TI’s OMAP 4470—a dual-core ARM Cortex A9-based processor that can be clocked at up to 1.8 GHz. Using the OMAP 4470 in the 8.9-inch and LTE versions but not the 7-inch variant is likely a cost-saving measure—the 4470 is pricier than the older, more widely used OMAP 4460.
A look at the OMAP 4460 and the corresponding die mark inside the package (click on image to enlarge).
In the specific 7-inch Kindle Fire HD torn down by UBM TechInsights, the OMAP 4460 was found in a package-on-package configuration with a Samsung K3PE7E700M 8-Gb Low Power DDR2 (LPDDR2) SDRAM device. The system RAM is is doubled as a result—going from 512 GB in the original Kindle Fire to 1 GB—a move that puts the Kindle Fire HD on par with other tablets in the field. Samsung also provides the memory for content, with the KLMAG2GE4A memory package consisting of 16 GB of NAND flash memory with an eMMC flash memory controller.
Broadcom provides one of the two ICs that that provide the Kindle Fire HD's wireless connectivity. The Broadcom BCM2076 is a multifunction monolithic IC that incorporates GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM receiver/transmitter. Amazon’s industry-first MIMO technology is provided via a device labeled on our board as 66023021. Once decapped, this package should reveal a singular 802.11n WiFi component (we’ll have an update on this device shortly).
Other key design wins include Texas Instruments winning the power management socket with the TWL6032 fully integrated power management IC and Wolfson Micro’s WM8962E being the audio codec. Invensense’s MPU-6050 was selected as the six-axis (gyroscope/accelerometer) MEMS component. Atmel provides the mutual capacitance touchscreen controller with the MXT768E. An interesting note about this device is that it was specified for automotive applications.
The most interesting aspect of the announcement is the price tag. When the first Kindle Fire was released, its $199 price point was an industry disrupter. No other tablet manufacturer had even thought about creating a product at that price because consumers were willing to pay upwards of $499 for an Apple tablet. Amazon looks to shake the industry yet again with a price on the new Kindle Fire HD at the same $199 price point of the original Kindle Fire, while also offering the new Kindle Fire for $159. Our bill-of-materials (BOM) estimate reveals that the Kindle Fire HD has margins similar to the original Kindle Fire. However, we suspect that Amazon will take a loss on the new Kindle Fire tablet in order to make a gain in content (such as e-books) and application sales.
I think Apple will do fine with its devoted fans happy to pay a premium to be fashionable.
It's Amazon that's taking the big risk at red ink in hopes of making it up by becoming Number 2 in tablets and reaping profits on Amazon.com sales.
If it becomes Number Four or Five behind Samsung, Microsoft and say Asus, they will be burning through the profits their other business units generate.
That's really cool, an excellent tablet for under $200. This will probably open up new segments in market hitherto untested. While Kindle started off as an e-reader it has grown to threaten the prevailing players in tablets. I bet Samsung will be the first to respond to this rather than Apple. Aamzon has put Apple in a fix now though there are always going to be customers for the Ipad, the newer generation don't hesitate to experiment.
Selling hardware at cost ....has the potential to be a very disruptive force in the semiconductor industry. Does it force apple to move more in that direction for iPad mini? Does it force MS surface to do the same to establish an ecosystem arround windows RT?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.