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Amazon kills the Kindle DX, but may revive Texas Instrument’s abandoned chip division

Amazon Kindle DX Jeff Bezos

Amazon is making headlines today for announcing the death of a product that never quite caught on, the Kindle DX, and for potentially breathing new life into Texas Instruments’ recently abandoned processor division.

Kindle DX dies

First, the Kindle DX. Released in 2009, the combination of an E Ink screen, 9.7-inch screen, free 3G, long battery life, and access to Amazon’s extensive library certainly sounded like a recipe for success. But apart from the big screen, the DX offered little over the smaller, cheaper, and considerably more portable standard Kindle. Couple that with the release of the Apple iPad a year later, and the Kindle DX became another casualty of the tablet revolution. 

Any popularity the DX did have has clearly waned enough for Amazon to admit defeat, as the Kindle DX is no longer directly available on its website, with only third-party companies continuing to gamely advertise the man-sized e-reader. Will it be missed? Like all niche devices, it will always have a hardcore fan base, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone choosing a DX over a Kindle Fire and a standard Kindle e-reader these days.

This is particularly applicable internationally, as Amazon never released the DX outside the United States, preferring to offer an import service instead. Have a guess at how much you’d have to shell out for a DX in the UK back in 2010? A mere $600 or £375. Bargain.

Amazon ponders TI processor purchase

But, the circle of life continues at Amazon, and a rumor has linked the company with the potential purchase Texas Instruments’ processor division, at least according to a reporter for calcalist.com. TheNextWeb.com shows the author of the piece has form too, having scooped Apple’s $500 million acquisition of flash memory company Anobit in 2011.

Texas Instruments announced it would cease investing in mobile processor development during an investor meeting in September, preferring to concentrate on the “embedded chip” market instead. Amazon uses Texas Instruments OMAP processors in its Kindle Fire tablets, so bringing the whole show in-house could be quite the money-saver.

It could also pave the way for the often rumored Amazon smartphone, as it would be one less component to outsource, plus TI chips are used by other companies — including arch rivals Barnes & Noble and Kobo; potentially opening up another revenue stream for Amazon. 

The article says the deal could be worth “billions of dollars,” and that Amazon is currently holding “advanced negotiations.” If it’s all true, its shows just how serious Amazon is about becoming a hardware company with which to be reckoned.

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