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Slideshow: Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet Mini-Teardown
11/18/2011

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What do the Kindle Fire and a fruit fly have in common? Thanks to the help of our Phillips #0 
screwdriver, now neither has a backbone. 
Image courtesy of iFixit.com
What do the Kindle Fire and a fruit fly have in common? Thanks to the help of our Phillips #0
screwdriver, now neither has a backbone.
Image courtesy of iFixit.com

Image 1 of 4      Next >

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Beth Stackpole
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Big leap forward
Beth Stackpole   11/18/2011 6:27:15 AM
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While I know plenty of avid readers who won't part with their Kindle, the obvious comparison with the Fire model is the the iPad. It looks like Amazon has made huge strides in making the Kindle well suited for a range of applications (watching movies, surfing the Web) in addition to its core capabilities. While it physically looks more iPad-like, I'm wondering if the actual user experience is up to snuff with an Apple device and if this Kindle will make any kind of inroads in Apple's lock on the burgeoning tablet market.

Alexander Wolfe
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Low-cost assembly
Alexander Wolfe   11/18/2011 9:54:32 AM
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The tight design constraints all round are of huge interest here to design engineers. Also interesting to note is the question of whether Amazon is making a profit selling the Kindle Fire for $199 or whether they're losing money. Market analysts iSuppli peg the cost of the Fire's Bill of Materials (BOM) at $201, while Design News sister company UBM TechInsights puts it at about $143.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Low-cost assembly
Rob Spiegel   11/18/2011 10:52:22 AM
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Talk on the street indicates that Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire at a loss in order to encourage users to buy digital content. Logic would suggest Amazon believes the Kindle Fire will prompt greater sales of digital books and movies than the Kindle Reader alone was able to do. 

It will be interesting to see how the Fire affects the iPad. It is certainly a lot less expensive. I'm also curious to see whether the developer community will jump on the Kindle Fire.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Low-cost assembly
Beth Stackpole   11/18/2011 1:23:13 PM
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Makes sense that Amazon would see the Kindle Fire as a loss leader to encourage more sales of online content. And with this platform, it's not just books and magazines, but video as well. And as Rob points out, far less expensive than an iPad.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Low-cost assembly
Rob Spiegel   11/18/2011 1:28:49 PM
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That's right, Beth. Even further in the sales area, users will be able to buy physical products through the Kindle Fire. Amazon has a ga-zillion physical products sold through its affiliates. You can buy those products with the Kindle e-Reader. And those physical products come with a higher margin than Amazon's digital content.

Charles Murray
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Re: Big leap forward
Charles Murray   11/18/2011 5:00:28 PM
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Good point. I can't imagine that readers of e-books will continue to read their books on dedicated devices in the future. I would be surprised if future readers don't have a multitude of applications (watching TV, web surfing, viewing movies) going forward.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Kindle Fire is LCD based – no more E-Ink-?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/20/2011 6:25:11 PM

I think what’s most remarkable in Kindles’ release of this product is their re-directed product strategy using LCDs instead of E-Ink.  What a contrast from their initial posture of the first e-readers!!  The big deal was E-Ink. E-Ink is what made Kindle a 21st Century innovation.  Electrophoretic displays provide the huge benefit of bright-sunlight-readable displays PLUS about 100x the battery life, because the bi-stable electrophoretics require a voltage pulse only to change the display, (not maintain the display). These two key points were the drivers for E-Ink development out of M.I.T in the late 1990’s and made it the killer App for the E-Ink’s courtship into the Amazon marketplace.  Yes, there was a time not long ago when a “Killer App” was not solely SW code-based.  Funny how that enormous breakthrough was minimized and even forgotten in the wake a bigger, brighter, and cheaper color displays.  Kindle Fire.  Color LCD. Tough in the bright sun, and battery life like everything else.  Yawn.  Just too “Me-Too” to be considered innovation.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Kindle Fire is LCD based – no more E-Ink-?
Alexander Wolfe   11/21/2011 8:59:58 AM
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Regarding E-Ink, which JimT mentions, it's a great technology, which I've been writing about since before it was popular. Here's a pointer to a short interview I did with E-Ink co-founder Russell Wilcox back in 2005: Electronic-Paper Displays Slowly Gain Wider Acceptance.

mrmikel
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Re: Big leap forward
mrmikel   11/21/2011 9:56:01 AM
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As an e-reader user, I want the extended battery life and small size.  I am not looking for video.  I have other devices for that and I don't want them all in one place.  Color is nice, but not at the expense of battery life.

But I am an old fogey with a lot of paper books too.  And my cell phone is used just as a phone instead of a toy.

Walt
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Gold
Re: Big leap forward
Walt   11/21/2011 11:43:47 AM
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Yes, mrmikel, extreme low power usage is a big deal to E-ink readers.

The other big advantage of E-ink over LCD is readability/eyestrain.  That display is really nice to the eyes - like paper is - for those who actually read whole books on their readers.

My wife adores her Kindle for book reading and even if she gets a Fire, I believe she will continue to use the Kindle for books after reading one or two on an LCD...

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