Kindle 2 Teardown

Written By: Luke Soules

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Difficulty Very easy
Steps 14
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Our Kindle 2 shipped on Monday, February 23rd, a day early. Thanks to UPS Next Day Air, we have the reader in our hands Tuesday morning.

  • Step 1
    • It's here!
    • Thanks to the magic of E-Ink, the Kindle comes with setup instructions displayed on the screen itself. No plugging in is required.
    • We'll post updates on twitter about interesting things that we discover as we go.
  • Step 2
    • What comes in the box:
    • A quick start guide, complete with embossed letters
    • An AC adapter
    • The Kindle 2
    • Conveniently, the AC adapter can be used with either a wall outlet or a USB port.
  • Step 3
    • Size comparison: Definitely not as big as a 17" MacBook Pro Unibody.
    • The Kindle 2 weighs only 10.2 ounces. Per pound, that makes the Kindle 2 even more expensive than the $2,799 MacBook Pro 17" Unibody we took apart last week.
  • Step 4
    • The back. Nothing special about it.
    • Note the speaker holes on the bottom. We briefly tried the Text-to-Speech feature and were very impressed by the Kindle 2's ability to read the text displayed on-screen. But the honeymoon was quickly over and we started tearing into it.
    • Hopefully the insides will be more exciting... We'll let you know as soon as we can!
  • Step 5
    • Prying the back off...
    • Getting inside is easy once you know how. We used some plastic opening tools and a metal spudger, and finally managed to get in.
    • The matte-gray top cover comes off first.
    • There are two Phillips screws to remove before the Aluminum back can be removed entirely.
  • Step 6
    • We're in!
    • It's still not very pretty; just more white plastic.
    • Twenty Phillips screws hold the white plastic paneling in place.
    • Interestingly, nothing was attached to the large white and brown connector near the top of the board.
  • Step 7
    • Remove two Phillips screws and the battery lifts out easily.
    • The battery is Model No. S11S01A. It's a 3.7 V, 1530 mAh lithium polymer battery. The battery weighs in at 31 grams, just over 10% of the Kindle's total weight.
    • The wireless card is also easily removable by removing two Phillips screws.
    • There are two antenna ports on the wireless card, but there was nothing connected to the AUX port in our Kindle.
  • Step 8
    • After removing sixteen more screws, we've made it to the main PCB.
    • Everything exciting is still beneath silver EMI shields.
    • The Kindle was designed by Lab126, a secretive Amazon subsidiary based in Cupertino that designs consumer devices. Thus far, they have only released the Kindle 1 and 2.
  • Step 9
    • Lifting the logic board and display assembly out of its plastic housing.
    • There is no protective covering over the display. The display seen from the outside is the actual E-Ink panel.
  • Step 10
    • Even with the battery completely removed, the screen displays a crystal clear image.
    • The display is held by a "window frame" of adhesive. Gentle prods and twists from all sides with a plastic opening tool separated the display.
    • Removing the display reveals a bunch of vias on the PCB. Nothing too terribly exciting.
  • Step 11
    • The logic board after removing the silver EMI shields.
    • The majority of the larger chips are made by Freescale, Samsung and Epson.
    • On the center-left side of the board is an outline of a SIM card with empty headers. Amazon left a opening in the plastic framework revealing this region. Was this left in for development and debugging?
  • Step 12
  • Step 13
    • The main processor is in the upper left. The Freescale chip is labeled MCIMX31LVKN5C M91E CTAH0850V. It's a 532 MHz, ARM-11 90nm 14mm package.
    • To the right of the processor, the Samsung K4X1G323PC is a 32MB mobile DDR SDRAM chip. There another Samsung SDRAM chip in the lower right.
    • The large Samsung package in the lower left is the Kindle's main memory. It's a 2 GB moviNAND package, which includes both flash memory and the cotroller.
    • The co-branded Epson and E-Ink chip on the right is the display controller. It is a PFBGA package that supports "high speed screen updates (2048x1536 at 50Hz+)."
  • Step 14
    • The complete disassembly of the Kindle 2.
    • It seems to be the type of device that people will not bother modding... Or will they? Only time will tell.

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