Remember how the Kindle Fire was going to be a rebadged BlackBerry PlayBook?

In reality there's hardly any similarity between the two devices.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

If you've got a half-decent memory then you might remember this tidbit that was floating about back in September:

I'll let gdgt's Ryan Block speak for himself:

My sources tell me that RIM originally outsourced much of the hardware design and production of the PlayBook to mega-ODM Quanta ... Amazon's own Kindle group (called Lab 126) apparently opted not to take on the project, in favor of continuing to work solely on next-gen E-Ink-based devices.

From there, Amazon's team determined they could build a tablet without the help and experience of Lab 126, so they turned to Quanta, which helped them "shortcut" the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Of course, it's never quite that simple, and as I'm told Amazon ran into trouble, and eventually sacrifices were made (like using a slower processor).

Although Amazon did refresh the ID of their PlayBook derivative, I'm told that this first tablet of theirs is "supposed to be pretty poor" and is a "stopgap" in order to get a tablet out the door for the 2011 holiday season -- which doesn't exactly leave the best taste in my mouth.

OK ... now back to present day reality.

Similarities between the two devices? Hardly any.

Here's the mainboard from the Kindle Fire:

Image credit: iFixit

Here's a list of notable components from the Kindle Fire:

  • Samsung KLM8G2FEJA 8 GB Flash Memory
  • Hynix H9TKNNN4K 512 MB of Mobile DDR2 RAM
  • Texas Instruments 603B107 Fully Integrated Power Management IC with Switch Mode Charger
  • Texas Instruments LCDS83B FlatLink 10-135 MHZ Transmitter
  • Jorjin WG7310 WLAN/BT/FM Combo Module
  • Texas Instruments AIC3110 Low-Power Audio Codec With 1.3W Stereo Class-D Speaker Amplifier
  • Texas Instruments WS245 4-Bit Dual-Supply Bus Transceiver

And here's the mainboard from the BlackBerry PlayBook:

Image creditiFixit

Here's a list of notable components from the BlackBerry PlayBook:

  • Elpida B8064B2PB-8D-F 1GB DRAM & the TI OMAP4430 1GHz dual-core processor
  • SanDisk SDIN5C2-16G 16 GB NAND Flash
  • Texas Instruments TWL6030 Power Management
  • STMicroelectronics XTV0987 5 MP mobile imaging processor
  • Wolfson WM8994E audio codec
  • Texas Instruments WL1283 GPS/WLAN/Bluetooth/FM
  • TriQuint Semiconductor TQP6M9002 802.11a/b/g/n + BT front-end module

The mainboard similarities begin and end with the Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core processor.

Bottom line: There's hardly any similarity between the two devices.

Now, just to make it clear, my intention here isn't to throw Ryan Block or gdgt under a bus. I respect Block and like gdgt, but instead it is to point out that rumors, even if backed by 'sources,' more often than not turn out to be nonsense. I know, because I get sent masses of nonsense my way each and every day. My job is to filter this, not pass it on to you in a raw, unprocessed state.

It's a fine line out there between fantasy and reality, folks.

Note: Those of you with good memories will remember that I did cover this story, but my angle was that no one would care if Amazon's tablet was a PlayBook clone.

Beware of those who invoke 'sources.'


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