The cheap entry-level Kindle Fire tablets made by Amazon will sport MediaTek-made mobile chipsets from 2014, a report claims.
This would be a huge win for the Taiwan-based chip maker. MediaTek is a household name in Asia (and mostly in China), where it supplies the chipsets for most ‘white box’ mobile devices, and it’s also a leading supplier for the up-and-coming Chinese mobile brands. But so far the company’s presence in the ‘developed world’ hasn’t been felt too much. Things are beginning to change, though, with Sony, Acer, and LG opting to use its chipsets in some affordable handsets so far.
But landing an order from Amazon for the Kindle Fire? That’s big, at least in terms of brand-name recognition. The chipset in question is MediaTek’s MT8135, which is based on ARM’s big.LITTLE design just like the Samsung Exynos Octa. Yet in this case we’re only dealing with four cores. They’re still split in two clusters, though. One cluster consists of two high performance Cortex-A15 cores, whereas the battery-friendly cluster is made out of two Cortex-A7 cores.
Unlike Samsung’s design, though, the MT8135 allows both clusters to work simultaneously, or in whichever combination of cores is more suitable for the current workload. This means that when the load will be small, only the A7 cores will be used, thus saving power. But when maximum performance is needed, that can come too if all cores are active at once.
MediaTek’s chips have always been extremely cheap compared to its competitors’, and that’s become the company’s unique selling point. Amazon is doing all it can to keep its Kindle Fire tablets incredibly cheap, so this seems like a match made in heaven, so to speak.
Amazon reportedly sells around 2 million tablets each quarter, so such an order would boost MediaTek’s bottom line for sure. If these chipsets are only meant for the entry-level Kindle Fire (non-HD), then we might not see it refreshed this fall alongside the HD variants – maybe Amazon will keep the existing model on sale a few more months, only to then replace it with the one using MediaTek’s chip.
Many times so far, the HD Kindle Fire tablets have been rumored to be replaced by newer models this year – so that pretty much seems like a given at this point. Another option would be for Amazon to refresh the Kindle Fire as well this fall, and then refresh it once more in 2014 when it gets the MediaTek parts.