Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet had quickly rose to popularity when it had launched in the fall of 2011 with commendable specs and an affordable price of $199 when many tablets at the time cost in excess of $400 or $500. Due for a refresh this fall, Amazon is now said to debut its third generation 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet with a more powerful octa-core processor to compete against the Samsung Exynos 5 octa in that company’s international variant of the Galaxy S4 smartphone.
In keeping to its low price target for the 7-inch slate, it’s believed that Amazon likely won’t be using Samsung’s popular chipset. Instead, the company may be turning to MediaTek, according to a report on DigiTimes, with the more cost effective octa-core ARM-based CPU. Like the Exynos 5 octa, MediaTek’s MT8135 is actually a quad-core solution utilizing ARM Holdings‘ big.LITTLE architecture. With that design, the chip has four high-powered cores for performance intensive tasks and also four low-powered cores that get activated when idle or using less demanding applications. As such, neither MediaTek’s nor Samsung’s octa-core offerings can utilize all 8 cores at the same time.
MediaTek’s role in Amazon’s Kindle Fire plans are still unconfirmed, and given DigiTimes mixed track records on reporting on rumors in the past this information should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if accurate, MediaTek should be given a big boost given Amazon’s stature as the fourth largest tablet-maker in the industry.
The choice of MediaTek’s processor may be key in helping Amazon stay competitive in the low-price segment. Google recently released its second generation Nexus 7, also called the Nexus 7 2013, tablet in collaboration with Asus. Though the tablet costs $30 more this year at $230, Google upped the specs with a new full HD 1080p display and a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor from Qualcomm.
Part of the reason that Amazon is able to deliver its hardware at such a low price is that the company can still generate profits after the point of sales. Through its digital storefronts, Amazon sells digital content such as e-books, MP3s, TV shows and movies, magazines, and other content through its online stores.