Editor's note: A previous version of this article indicated Quanta switched away from TriQuint Semiconductor chips in the Kindle Fire, when in fact, the Kindle Fire uses a different TriQuint chip. The Motley Fool regrets the error.
The Kindle Fire is out, and in characteristically eager fashion, iFixit has dug in.
Although the life of being an Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) supplier may not be as glamorous as that of an Apple (Nasdaq: 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 (Nasdaq: 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 (NYSE: TXN ) supplies a power management integrated circuit, flatlink transmitter, low-power audio codec, dual-supply bus transceiver, a dual-core ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: 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 the Wi-Fi chip to a different TriQuint offering, while ditching Wolfon's audio codecs.
Cypress Semiconductor had provided the touchscreen controller for the PlayBook, and there are rumors that Atmel (Nasdaq: 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 (Nasdaq: 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 (NYSE: 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.