A little bit of old, a little bit of new. We took apart the new Kindle Fire HD. But really, this device should be called the Kindle Fire H — where “H” stands for “Half” — because to us it appears that it encompasses a lot of the features of the old non-HD Kindle Fire, while utilizing most of the guts of last year’s HD unit.
Confused? So were we for a while, till we hashed it all out. Come along for the journey as we ‘splain ourselves!
• The guts: they are Kindle Fire HD, circa 2012. The 2013 HD has a very similar motherboard and internal layout to the old one, but now a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor lies under its 2013 hood.
• However, on the outside this device is more reminiscent of the old non-HD Kindle Fire. It’s more square-shaped than the already-square-shaped Kindle Fire HD, which has more pronounced rounded corners. Which is a good thing, because…
• ...Its repairability is also the same awesome 8 out of 10 that we gave the original Fire. Last year’s HD model had its front glass and LCD fused together, which is no longer the case — so it gets that extra point back!
• Curiously, the Amazonian overlords decided to remove the camera from this base Fire HD, even though last year’s unit had one. Cost cutting to make it $140 (with ads)? Perhaps, but that’s speculation, and we don’t be speculatin’ around these parts. However, there’s no obvious empty space on the motherboard for one, meaning that there's no dead-giveaway that a camera is coming next year.
• We've confirmed! This year's Kindle Fire HD has 1 GB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, courteously provided by Micron. Its inscription reads "3HAI8 D9QQD."
• The list of chips, ICs, and packages:
- Toshiba THGBMAG6A2JBAIR 64 Gb (8 GB) e-MMC NAND Flash
- Synaptics S7301B Touchscreen Controller
- Texas Instruments 38C6NHI
- Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n MAC/Baseband/Radio with Integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Transceiver
- Maxim Integrated MAX98090 Ultra-low Power Stereo Audio Codec
- Maxim Integrated MAX97236 Audio Amplifier
• The display once again comes courtesy of LG. And just like last time, it's a mouthful: the LD070WX6-SM01. Gesundheit!