Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets have done a great job of keeping up with the spec wars of other tablets on the market. Processors have pretty much always been in line with industry standards, and the displays pretty much speak for themselves too. Last year we saw Amazon put a Snapdragon in the Kindle Fire HDX, which was the cream-of-the-crop processor at the time, showing the world that they are not only willing to challenge the rest of the tablet market on price but on specs as well. So now that the Kindle Fire HDX has been out for over 6 months rumors are of course flying for the next batch of Kindle Fire tablets, assumed to be announced this coming September as the last few have been. But there’s a little wrinkle in the mix here, and it looks like Amazon might be switching gears for its Kindle Fire line and possibly taking them away from the high-end tablet game and placing them in the mid-range one instead.
MediaTek is a Chinese processor manufacturer that specializes in mid to low-end processors, and is featured in a number of phones internationally that fit in those market segments. For one reason or another MediaTek’s presence hasn’t really been felt in some parts of the world, namely the US, and now it looks like Amazon might be meaning to change that. Rumors from Taiwan Economic Daily are pointing to Amazon switching gears once again from Qualcomm the way they did from Texas Instruments when they move to the next series of Kindle Fire tablets this year. Also note that there have been rumors of a cheaper Nexus coming this year with a MediaTek processor, it looks like MediaTek’s big break could just happen this year.
Apparently MediaTek has been knocking on doors lately and Amazon came answering, although the rumor doesn’t specify whether or not Amazon would be switching out processors for their whole lineup or just for the more budget-conscious ones. Why would Amazon make this move? Given that Amazon generally sells their tablet hardware for a loss or close to it, switching to a cheaper manufacturer could bring up those profit margins and make Amazon’s investors just a little bit happier. Not only that but MediaTek is well known for not giving out the source code for their processors, making development on any devices running MediaTek processors a royal pain in the butt. Considering Amazon forked Android off and replaced Google services with their own, protecting those sources and continuing to try to make them exclusive makes sense, and a MediaTek processor might just be an easy way to do that.