New Kindles Face the Teardown Fire

It’s that time of year again. Fall is here: leaves are turning, Ugg sales are on the upslope, and your local Starbucks is busily brewing up Pumpkin Spice Lattes. All of this can mean only one thing—Amazon has refreshed its Kindle line, and is ready to begin sharing the new goodies. We took it upon ourselves to grab both the new base Kindle e-reader—the $79 Kindle 7th Generation—and a new face in the crowd, the Fire HD 6, a $99 Android-based tablet.

We tore into each with gusto, eagerly searching for anything exciting to share with you. There wasn’t much. They’re Kindles. But here’s what we did find!

Though differently purposed, the two Kindles are similarly built, and share the same repair wins and woes—easy opening procedures get you to strongly glued-in batteries, but their clean, modular designs are otherwise very easy to work with. Each Kindle received a solid eight out of ten on our Repairability Scale. Lack of available replacement parts has limited repair options in other Kindle models; we can only hope these models don’t share the same fate.

Kindle 7th Generation Teardown Highlights:

Kindle 7th generation teardown

• Amazon tells us that the 3.29 Wh battery is good for 4 weeks per charge (defined as 14 hours of use and 658 hours of standby). Sounds like a lot! But it’s half the eight-week spec of the Kindle Paperwhite, a backlit tablet with a 5.25 Wh battery. Where is this Kindle’s extra power going?

• The Kindle now has touch! But how? A grid of infrared LEDs and receivers, powered by Neonode’s zForce tech, criss-crosses the display. When a finger (or any pointing implement) blocks the beam, a touch is registered.

  • Gen 7 Kindle Hardware:
    • Freescale Semiconductor MCIMX6L7DVN10AB Applications Processor
    • Elpida B2432BCPE-8D-F DDR2 Mobile RAM
    • SanDisk SDIN7DP2-4G eMMC iNand Ultra 4 GB NAND Flash
    • Atheros AR6803G-BL3B WLAN Controller
    • Maxim Integrated MAX77696A Power Management Integrated Circuit
    • Neonode zForce NN1001 Single Chip Optical Touch Controller
    • Texas Instruments MSP430G2 Ultra Low Power Microcontroller

Kindle Fire HD 6 Teardown Highlights:

Kindle Fire HD 6 teardown

• This looks familiar. It seems the Fire HD 6 is just a small Kindle Fire, after some serious streamlining internally (not to mention shrinking externally).

• The 2.0 MP rear-facing camera is…well…a camera. Which is great if you ever wanted 2005 flip-phone photography in a new and unwieldy format.

  • Fire HD 6 Chips:
    • MediaTek MT8135V Applications Processor
    • SK Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 512 MB DDR3L SDRAM (two ICs for 1 GB)
    • Toshiba THGBMBG6D1KBAIL 8 GB e-MMC NAND Flash
    • MTK MT6628TP Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Controller
    • SlimPort ANX3618 Connectivity IC
    • Maxim Integrated MAX97236 Audio Amplifier with Jack Detection