Posted: July 25, 2014
Preliminary Teardown analysis suggests that Amazon’s $649.00 USD (Amazon.com) phone costs $209.00 USD to build. Qualcomm is the primary providers of many of the key integrated circuits and both Invensense and OmniVision are noted for their role in delivering Amazon’s Dynamic Perspective display technology. Based on our analysis and costing, this phone is on par with many competitors from a technology design and premium pricing perspective. The phone’s price (and bill of materials cost) is in-line with competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Apple iPhone 5S.
Amazon has undoubted invested heavily in software features that are not included in this BOM costing estimate, most notably the software behind the Dynamic Perspective display feature. To understand the inner workings of the hardware needed to support this new feature, TechInsights looks inside at the design and chipsets needed to enable this high performance phone and the new experience it promises the mobile phone market.
Amazon's Fire Phone enters the mobile market from AT&T (a similar strategy applied by Apple in 2007) and through direct sales via Amazon.com. Just like the first iPhone, and those which have followed since, the TechInsights team has wasted no time analyzing the Fire Phone to discern what choices the vendor made from a design, technology, assembly, and chipset perspective to bring its flagship device to market.
But before we jumped into the Fire Phone we had to test the Dynamic Perspective feature. While it is true the Dynamic Perspective cannot really be viewed in a still photo of the display, our teardown team did their best to capture photos of the hardware which delivers the 3D-like experience.
There are four cameras responsible for tracking the user's face. Each of these rely on an infrared LED (these are seen as little purple lights in the photo below) and input from a single accelerometer/gyro IC the Invensense MPU-6500 Six-Axis(Gyro + Accelerometer) MEMS.
As for the four cameras themselves, we were able to find the die marks and have strong support for our suspicions the image sensors are from OmniVision.
And although we have yet to find the die markings of the webcam and 13MP camera on the back of the phone, the appearance of OmniVision's OV680 image processor further suggests all of the image sensors for all six cameras are OmniVision sensors.
Synaptics gets the final display design win with its S3310B touchscreen controller. This is part of the vendor’s ClearPad Series 3 Family of products.
Amazon Fire Phone's Multiple Camera Modules
But the Dynamic Perspective is not just all in the cameras. Looking closer at the display panel we found an interesting pixel design, too. This design is different than what we have seen in other phones and our comparison of these is convered in an EETimes article here.
Into the Fire Phone - Design Wins
From a hardware and chipset perspective the Amazon Fire is no slouch. TechInsights' team was encouraged to see that the design choices used to enable many of the features needed to compete in a connected world were chosen from a stable of many vendors’ premium product lines.
At the heart of the Fire Phone is the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 Application and Baseband processor running at 2.2GHz with 2 GB of LDDR3 RAM, this includes 32 GB of storage, support for nine LTE (as well as GSM and W-CDMA cellular modes), and WiFi 802.11a/n/ac. TechInsights notes Qualcomm scored big in the design wins in the Amazon Fire Phone besting Broadcom in the combo Wi-Fi chip space.
The following table captures a complete list of the key Integrated Circuit Design Wins in the Amazon Fire Phone.
Amazon Fire Phone Cost Estimate
The BOM cost of the Amazon Fire Phone has estimated at $209 USD. This includes the materials, chipsets, electronics, and assemble and test costs. Our team of analysts have provided costing on mobile and personal electronics for 15 years.
The following Figure segments the costs into the relevant systems, such as memory, display, battery, connectivity, and more. It should be noted this is our initial cost, over the next several weeks, we’ll cost each discrete technology, chipset, filter, etc.
TechInsights analysis clearly shows Qualcomm as the undisputable winner for IC design and socket wins. Qualcomm’s chips also make up the lion’s share of the Bill of Materials and contributed the largest percentage of our initial cost estimate.
Comparing Specifications: Fire Phone vs. iPhone 5s
As all phones are inevitably compared to Apple’s flagship products, Teardown.com will be doing a follow-up comparison in mid-August that will evaluate the Amazon Fire Phone against the Apple iPhone 5S prior to the release of our completed Deep Dive report for the Fire Phone. A quick spec comparison is shown in the following table.