Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation Teardown

To give some context to this article i’m going to be posting a bunch of in-depth research into the Amazon Echo Dot over a series of articles, this will cover many questions that people have about these devices such as; “are they spying on me?”, “how do they work?” and “what data do they store?”.

Kicking off the series of Amazon Echo Dot investigation, I guess we can start with a teardown of the device.

Unharmed Echo Dot

There was a bit of glue keeping the bottom plate on but a little force and it pops right off. Then all there is holding it together is a few screws. After opening up the device, photographs were taken of the main components, and some research into them quickly ensued. I noticed that the only connectivity to the device is a small power port and a 3.5mm audio output.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation Motherboard
MediaTek MT8516 Processor
SK Hynix RAM Flash Memory Combination

So, the main specifications of the device are as follows;

  • 1.3GHZ Quad Core MediaTek MT8516
  • 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 4GB eMMC Flash Storage

The capacity of the Echo Dot third generation’s memory and storage does seem somewhat excessive for the kinds of tasks that the device is carrying out which could lead some to speculate about what they could be storing. However, what may be the case is that Amazon purchased off the shelf components in bulk from SK Hynix as it would help drive down the cost per unit as opposed to requesting a custom package. As this chip was the lowest capacity chip in the line-up, they went with it as it would likely serve current needs and leave some headroom for future software developments. What must be considered is that there needs to be some space reserved for downloading software updates which may take up a large amount of the available capacity of the device as may be demanded by a significant operating system update.

There isn’t really much to these devices, what previously was a large collection of chips scattered over a large board is now just two chips taking up most of the jobs needed.

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