iSuppli teardown reveals $171.05 BOM for BlackBerry Torch

blackberrytorch9800El Segundo, Calif. — The new Blackberry Torch 9800 smart phone from Research in Motion Ltd. carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $171.05, according to a teardown and cost analysis conducted by market research firm iSuppli Corp.

“On the outside, the Torch delivers a rich feature set, with three User Interfaces (UIs): a capacitive touch screen, an optical track pad and the first slider QWERTY keyboard found in a BlackBerry,” said Andrew Rassweiler, principal analyst, teardown services manager, for iSuppli, in a statement.

“On the inside, the Torch’s electronic design heavily leverages subsystems used in previous members of the BlackBerry smart phone line, specifically the Storm2 and the Bold 9700. With this evolutionary approach, RIM has delivered a smart phone with an enhanced feature set that largely matches those of the BlackBerry’s chief competitors: the iPhone and the Android-based handsets,” added Rassweiler.

Here’s the breakdown:

Along with the QWERTY slider keyboard, iSuppli says the Torch delivers a number of other firsts for the BlackBerry line, including the newly rewritten BlackBerry OS 6, as well as Social Feeds, Universal Search and a faster WebKit-based browser. The new BlackBerry also contains a GPS integrated circuit (IC) from CSR plc, the first time iSuppli has seen this new chip in a product teardown.

The Torch’s radio frequency (RF), power amplifier and power management subsystems are similar or virtually identical to those of a previous member of the BlackBerry line, the Bold 9700. In terms of specs and size, the Torch’s display is very similar to that of the BlackBerry Storm2 9550, and uses the same microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer by Analog Devices Inc. used in the Storm2 9550, said iSuppli.

iSuppli’s teardown also found that the Torch offers some similarity to other smart phone brands. Mechanically, it is comparable in complexity and cost to HTC Tilt 2, and it integrates Texas Instruments Inc.’s WL1271x WLAN/BlueTooth IC, which can be found in products including Motorola Inc.’s Droid X and Microsoft Corp.’s Kin 2, according to the teardown.

When adding in an estimated manufacturing cost of $12, the Torch’s combined production and BOM cost totals $183.05, according to iSuppli’s analysis.

iSuppli notes that its teardown assessment accounts only for hardware and manufacturing costs, and does not take into consideration other expenses such as software, licensing and royalties. Click here for a summary of the preliminary bill of materials and manufacturing cost estimate.

The analysis finds that the most expensive subsystem in the Torch is the LCD and touch screen display module section, at a price of $34.85, representing 20.4 percent of the product’s BOM. The display is a 3.2-inch diagonal TFT LCD with a 480 by 360 pixel resolution.

iSuppli was not able to identify the supplier of the display but said RIM has used displays from Samsung Mobile Display, Toshiba Mobile Display Co. Ltd. and Sharp.

The touch screen uses capacitive technology and includes a Synaptics Inc. controller IC, which indicates that Synaptics is the potential supplier of the turnkey solution.

The second most expensive part of the Torch is the memory subsystem at a cost of $34.25, representing 20 percent of the BOM. In the individual Torch torn down by iSuppli, Samsung supplied a 4-Gbyte eMMC NAND flash memory device, an 8-Gbit NAND flash and a 4-Gbit Mobile Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM

SanDisk Corp. contributed a 4-Gbyte removable Micro SD memory card. The mechanical/electromechanical portions of the Torch, including the printed circuit boards and the enclosure plastics and metals, came in third at an estimated cost of $23.35, representing 13.7 percent of the Torch’s BOM.

Next is the applications processor/baseband section at $15, or 8.8 percent of the BOM, which is dominated by the communications processor, featuring an integrated baseband from Marvell Technology Group Ltd., said iSuppli.

Next is the RF transceiver and power amplifier section, at $13.90, or 8.1 percent of the BOM cost. Infineon Technologies AG’s PMB5701 tri-band RF transceiver is featured in the section, along with Renesas Electronics Corp.’s R2A60177BG quad-band RF transceiver and its RPF59001B power amplifier module.

The user interface electronics subsection comes in sixth, at $12.40, or 7.2 percent of the BOM. This section includes STMicroelectronics NV’s STV0987 video/image processor that supports mobile imaging. It also features Texas Instruments Inc.’s TLV320AIC36IZQER audio codec, CrucialTec Co. Ltd.’s optical trackpad assembly and the Analog Devices 3-axis accelerometer.

Other notable sections include the Bluetooth/WLAN/GPS area, with a price of $10.60 and 6.2 percent share of the BOM. Components in this subsystem include the Texas Instruments WL1271A single-chip Bluetooth/WLAN/FM transmitter/receiver and the CSR GSD4t-9800 GPS receiver. The power management section, at $4.90, or 2.9 percent of the BOM, includes the Texas Instruments TPS65856 power management IC.