Amazon Kindle Teardown

Assignment 1

Introduction

The Amazon Kindle is one of the most popular ebook reader in the United States. It was exciting to get this product to unravel its inner workings.

The Kindle 2 and its AC adapter.
Cracking open the back.

Closer look of the inside of a Kindle.

Tools used to take apart the Kindle 2

To remove the Back Casing(1) of the product I used a metal chisel. I must say this was an exciting look into a product with electronics. I then used a screwdriver to remove the small screws and lifted the logic board and display assembly out of its plastic housing.

Disassembled: Front View

The Back Casing (1) and Front Casing (2) are made from Plastic that is obtained from oil through the process of injection molding. The Back Casing has speaker holes on the top right and left. Amazon is not discrete about what plastic they use for the production. However, when we are done using our Kindle we can send it back to Amazon and they will properly dispose it. The Keyboard (3) seems to be a blend of plastic and rubber. It’s has an elasticity, when we press any key, it comes back to its original position. The Metal Case (4) is a part behind the Electrophoretic Display (5). The display is held by a “window frame” of adhesive on the Front Casing (2). After a couple of gentle twists I was able to separate these parts. The Electrophoretic Display (5), is made of tiny titanium dioxide, hydrocarbons, black dye and oil.

Disassembled: Back View

The Keyboard (3) fit into the Front Casing (2). 16 screws (6) attach the Front Casing (2) to the Metal Casing (4).

Disassembled: Back View

The back of the Electrophoretic Display (5) has a mirrored shinny appearance and is sandwiched between these two pieces. The lower end of the Display is attached with a copper coated piece known as a Flex Circuit Connector (11) Flex circuits are typically manufactured in China using a polyimide (Kapton) material and one to multiple layers of copper. It is responsible for allowing electrical circuits to flow through the device. The Lithium Ion Battery (7), Controller Board (8) and EMI Shield (9) are secured with screws on the grey area of the Metal Case (4). The Lithium Ion Battery (7), is a rechargeable power source that is made using heavy metal such as Lithium, Cobalt and Lead making it extremely important to dispose correctly. The battery is Model No. S11S01A. It’s a 3.7 V, 1530 mAh lithium polymer. The Controller Board (8) is used for video cards and Random-access memory (RAM) which allows connection of different video source inputs to be selected and shown on a screen. The EMI Shield (9) is a metal piece attached on top of the Controller Board (8) to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) from impacting sensitive electronics. The black piece (10) is attached to the red and black wire. It looked like a plastic part that felt like the control for the exterior button

Disassembled: Back View

The Logic Board (12) contains 7 chips that are protected by different EMI Shields (13). It also has a wireless card (16) that was inserted in its own Card Casing (15).

Close-up of Logic Board

The wireless card (16) is by Oberthur Technologies , a French digital security comment that enables the Kindle to connect to the internet via radio wavelengths. Most of the chips are made by Freescale, Samsung and Epson. The main processor of the Kindle 2 is the Freescale chip which is  labeled MCIMX353DjQ5C M99V BTHV1052C SNGPR (12 A). It is a 532 MHz, ARM-11 90nm 14mm package. The MC13892AJVL CTGL 1103K (12 B) is a Freescale battery management chip that is made in china. The Samsung semiconductor K4X1G323PC -8GD8 (12 C) is a Mobile-DDR SDRAM chip. There another Samsung SDRAM chip, KLM4G1EEER (12H). The WM8960 (12 D) is a low power, high quality stereo codec designed for portable digital audio application. The Atheros Chip (12E) supports for Kindle’s WiFi.  The Texas instrument SN92009 A2 TL 11L A14G G4 (12 F) is the power management chip. The co-branded Epson and E-Ink chip (12 G) is the display controller. It is a PFBGA package that supports “high speed screen updates (2048×1536 at 50Hz+) 

All the parts

Interesting Design Elements:

The redesign of the Kindle 2 from its first generation seemed to have cleaner lines and carefully designed proportions. Despite new models, the Kindle 2 still has an evergreen design and personally I love the white. Additionally, the Kindle 2 is a good example of Design for Disassembly. I only required 2 tools (Metal Chisel and a Screwdriver) to take the whole tablet apart. This helps facilitate future changes and dismantlement for any parts that need to be replaced and recycled.

Hi, I am Nihaarika!

Nihaarika Arora

Hi, My name is Nihaarika (NEE.HAA.REE.KAA) but I also go by Nihaa.

I am from Mumbai, India and have been living in New York since the past 5 years. I graduated in 2020 fr0m Parsons School of Design with a major in Product Design and minor in Communication Design. Before committing to SVA for PoD I was working full-time for a year as a Product Designer and Design Consultant and also worked on a few a freelance projects in UI/UX.

What brings me here today is my interest in understanding the psychology of the human experience to improve the design of products. Observing not only why people do the things they do, but also how they feel physically and mentally while performing these tasks are, I believe, at the core of innovative design strategies. I also enjoy exploring the interaction between a product and its user on a digital platforms. I believe that this program will compel me to explore this paradigm shift between disciplines that define industrial and digital products and that’s why I am very excited to be a part of this program.


Living in two diverse metropolitan cities, Mumbai and New York, my works are influenced by different cultural experiences that are skillfully maneuvered to fit into current times. I love making things with my hands and exploring different materials with a hope to create hybrids between the natural and built environments to generate awareness and create design solutions.

An interesting project that I created in my senior year(not my thesis) involved building a zero-electricity air cooler using terra-cotta (RE.fresh). The goal was to preserve energy, while still providing relief from the heat. The air cooler consisted of cones fitted into a hollow brick, filled with water. Experiments on the product were tested in an outdoor space where the temperature dropped by about 2.16 ° F near the smaller opening of the cone. As a result of evaporative cooling and the Venturi Effect, the change in pressure resulted in an increase in air velocity providing a cooling effect. The success of the project motivates me to continue working on it. My future goal is to create an interactive digital algorithm for this product to be used on a large scale by automatically calculating its effect in different settings based on recorded temperatures and wind velocities. 

My project, RE.fresh was part of a pop-up exhibition where I branded it alongside 12 Product Design studio projects, all designed for disasters in the age of climate change. An advanced Web: Interaction course I took during that semester, helped me design and code an interactive digital poster as an introductory statement for the pop-up show. You can check it out on my website below. And also see all the student projects on Instagram here:

Nihaarika with RE.Fresh and her Studio class in Undergraduate.

So, I am very excited to not only create a physical products but also add technology to it to create smart products. I am excited about working with the Arduino and am slightly apprehensive about coding but still VERY EXCITED!!

You can follow my work on my website: