[Kindle 2 Teardown] New Model More Difficult to Tear Down [Part 2]

May 13, 2009
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
We started to break down the Kindle (old) and the Kindle 2 (left).
We started to break down the Kindle (old) and the Kindle 2 (left).
[Click to enlarge image]
The back cover of the Kindle was removed.
The back cover of the Kindle was removed.
[Click to enlarge image]

Continued from [Kindle 2 Teardown] 2 Kindles Come from US [Part 1].

After obtaining the new and old models of the Amazon Kindle, Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad started to disassemble them with the help of an engineer who is working for a Japanese device maker and well-versed in the design of electronic books.

The difference between the two models became apparent soon. We started breaking them down at the same time, but there was a clear difference in pace. The Kindle was being smoothly disassembled by unscrewing screws. On the other hand, with the Kindle 2, we found it difficult even to locate screws, slowing the speed of tearing it down.

It seemed that the number of screws used for the Kindle 2 was reduced as much as possible. Apparently, the front and rear sides of the chassis were combined not by screws but by fitting them together. We inserted a screwdriver into a gap on the back side of the chassis and started to prying it open.

"(The Kindle 2 is) extremely difficult to open," the engineer said. "But, to put it the other way around, it is easy to produce. Compared with the case where many screws are used, it clearly reduces the takt time. So, this must be one of the improvements made to cut costs."

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn), a leading EMS/ODM firm in Taiwan, takes charge of the production of both the new and old models, according to some industry sources who have a good knowledge about the two models of the Kindle.

"Two-story" structure of old model

While we were having a difficult time disassembling the Kindle 2, the rear cover of the Kindle was removed. Looking down the inside of the Kindle, the engineer said, "The cost must be very high. It's really filled with components." In fact, with a number of parts crammed in the small space, it gave us the impression of "a heap of parts."

Looking at it more carefully, there was another substrate mounted on a part of the main board. It was an SD memory card slot. This is the only "two-structured" and thick part of the main board. In fact, the back side of the Kindle slopes along this part, making it look "distorted."

"I think they designed the chassis after designing the board," the engineer said.

In the mean time, the back cover of the Kindle 2 was taken off after some struggles.

To be continued