Amazon may being planning to copy Apple and move to create its own system-on-chip for new Kindles and Fire Tablets.
News of the alleged plan to create its tablet’s chips in house broke via the GoodeReader blog last week. The blog didn’t cite any sources and Amazon has not confirmed the news, but the move would make sense given the current state of the market.
Amazon would not be the first company to do this. Apple released its homegrown M1 chip last year, loading it into the MacBook Air M1, which scored 5/5 when we reviewed it at the end of 2020.
Intel announced it would be developing a series of chips that will be available in around a year, and Microsoft is designing its own chips for servers.
The companies are leaning towards developing their own SoCs as, generally, it is cheaper than buying the hardware piece by piece and saves each having to pay licensing fees. Amazon currently has to pay NXP for the Kindle processor.
As a result, if Amazon decided to develop its own SoC, it could result in cheaper Kindles and Fire Tablets and more power-efficient devices that run faster than ever.
An SoC, or system-on-chip, is exactly what it sounds like, being an entire system on a single chip. So it can incorporate a CPU, internal memory such as RAM, a GPU and input and output ports.
For the Kindle eReaders, most of the cost comes from the NXP processor inside and the other pieces of hardware, like the motherboard, battery, and storage. The Fire line of devices are a little different, as most of their processors are all in ARM-based chips, but they all use different components and displays. This can drive a tablet from £99 to £350.
Having an SoC can save on time, as having the RAM, storage, processor and graphics all in one place mean the computational processes have a shorter travel time, as they’re already interconnected.
Plus, SoC can integrate with add-ons like WiFi and cellular network, which would come in handy with the Kindles that boast 4G/LGT internet access.
If you’re interested in checking out some eReaders, Kindle and otherwise, take a look at our best eReaders list in the link prior.