Amazon and MediaTek Present: The Latest Batch of Kindle Fire HD tablets, for Adults and Kids

October 9, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

We folks over in the United States don’t hear much of the Taiwanese company MediaTek, but globally, they are gaining recognition for the subtle greatness and innovation they bring to the mobile industry with their processors.  With the new Amazon tablets that are shipping now, we get to see MediaTek strut their stuff. The new tablets cover the 6- and 7-inch screen form factors, as well as the kid-oriented Kindle Fire HD, Kids Edition, also available in the same screen sizes.  The latter, the Kids Edition, isn’t shipping yet, but will leave warehouses on October 21 if preordered.  It’s great to see Amazon making the Kindle greater with each iteration.  These models look to be some of the best yet, with the 6-inch Fire HD boasting an impressive $99 price tag.  Part of the value-for-money of the new Kindle Fire devices is the inclusion of two great chips from MediaTek.

MediaTek is known throughout Asia and the Southeast Pacific, but we in the States don’t see or hear much of the company.  Recently they became the supplier for the first batch of Android One phones that launched in India to spearhead the project.  This new round of tablets from Amazon powered by MediaTek look to further the company’s recognition in parts of the world where they don’t have a large, or any, foothold in the market. The processor inside the Fire HD 6 and 7, as well as the soon-coming Kids Editions, is the MT8135.  As with many processors from many manufacturers, higher numbers mean better parts and specifications, and this one is no different.  The MT8135 features a quad-core processor.  But, see, that’s where it really stops with the regularity and normalcy.  The MT8135 has something that MediaTek calls ‘Super-Quad’ processors, and here’s what it is.

The Samsung Exynos 5 octa series of dual-quad-core processors, one set A15 and one A7, to bring high and low powered performance to the devices they are in.  The MT8135 does a smarter derivative of this concept in the way that MediaTek paired a pair of A15 cores with a pair of A7 cores.  The idea is to have the A15 cores focus on the power-intensive, ‘big deal’ kind of activities of the tablet, while the A7 cores handle battery maintenance so that there isn’t just power all the time.  This is part of the big.LITTLE technology (which Samsung uses in its octa-core processors).

Another MediaTek innovation for the Kindle Fire HDs this time around is the MT6628.  No, this isn’t another processor chipset, though it sounds like it should be.  The MT6628 is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip.  The two wireless technologies are put together physically on this one, compact, battery-efficient circuit.  The latest Wi-Fi standard is included (that’s 802.11 ac, for those that forgot), as well as the famously battery-smart Bluetooth Low-Energy 4.0 (BLE, for short).

The two chips put together inside one tablet, and one starting at $99 to boot, is great news for customers, Amazon, and MediaTek.  Customers get a full-featured, console-quality gaming experience (thanks to the Imagination Technologies PowerVR Sense6 graphics technology built into the MT8135) on a slim, modern tablet with access to Amazon’s app store and the massive library of books, with great battery life.  Amazon gets a great set of chips to put in their latest and greatest tablets, as well as a partner for the move forward.  MediaTek get another partner that will hopefully have customers clawing to get their hands on this latest batch of Fire HD tablets.  Who wins here?  I think, for a rare instance, everybody.  Have you used a Fire tablet before, and what was the experience like?  If you don’t have a tablet, but have been shopping for one, would you consider the new round of Fire HDs?  Do you think that MediaTek should continue to strive to get more manufacturers on board with using their chips, to help them get the global recognition that many think they deserve?  Let us know down below.