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Amazon's 'Fire' smartphone contains chips from Qualcomm, Samsung, NXP

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's new "Fire" smartphone contains chips from Qualcomm Inc, NXP Semiconductors NV, and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, according to repair and teardown specialists iFixit, which pried one open on Thursday.

The Fire phone also houses chips from Synaptics Inc and Skyworks Solutions Inc, said the repair outfit, which made a name for itself taking apart devices like Apple Inc's iPhone and identifying its internal components.

Amazon's maiden smartphone, which includes four cameras that track a user's head movements to enable special screen effects, ships this week to customers in the United States and is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

The $600-plus device thrusts Amazon into a fiercely competitive smartphone market dominated by Apple and devices running Google Inc's Android software.

It also feeds into Amazon's core retail business. It touts a "Firefly" feature that can recognize objects and direct users to the same item on Amazon's online store.

Dismantling a just-delivered Fire handset, iFixit said on its blog on Thursday that it discovered radio frequency, power amplifier, audio and WiFi chips also from U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm. (iFixit: http://bit.ly/1nlJlUv)

Apart from the quartet of head-tracking cameras, the phone also includes a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera.

The device opened by iFixit included 32 gigabytes of NAND memory chips made by Samsung for storing pictures, music and other media. The phone, which has a 4.7 inch LCD display, included 2 gigabytes of DRAM memory from Samsung.

Manufacturers of mobile hardware often employ more than one supplier for memory chips and other components in their devices.

The handset included a near field communication chip, enabling features such as mobile payments, from NXP, according to iFixit.

The Fire smartphone also employs a touchscreen controller from Synaptics, and a communications chip from Skyworks.

The "Fire" is priced at $649 contract-free or $199.99 with a contract with AT&T Inc – in the same neighborhood as the iPhone. The price is a departure from the e-commerce company's strategy of pricing Kindle Fire tablets at near-cost to sell its other products and services. It has specifications similar to high- and mid-range smartphones and runs on a modified version of Google's Android operating system.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Andre Grenon and Lisa Shumaker)

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