$332.12 BOM for Samsung Chromebook

El Segundo, Calif. — The Series 5 Chromebook from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has a bill of materials worth $332.12, according to a preliminary teardown by IHS iSuppli. Incorporating features commonly found in full-featured notebooks, the Chromebook includes a high-quality 12.1-inch display, a full day (8.5 hours) of battery life, a new dual-core Atom processor, 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory and a 16GB solid-state drive.

The total cost to produce the device rises to $334.32 when the $12.20 manufacturing cost is added, said IHS iSuppli’s Teardown Service.

The BOM assessment accounts only for hardware costs, and does not take into consideration other expenses such as manufacturing software, licensing, royalties or other costs, said IHS iSuppli.

Priced at around $500, IHS iSuppli describes the Chromebook as a value notebook or 3G netbook in terms of features and connectivity. “The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is every bit a full-sized notebook PC — just don’t call it that,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS, in a statement.

“Featuring Google’s Chrome operating software, the Chromebook represents the search giant’s first commercial implementation of its web-centric vision designed to entice users to move away from standalone computers to the network storage medium known as the cloud. But as much as Google would like to de-emphasize the role of user hardware, it is the hardware, in fact, that defines the Chromebook and will determine the success of the platform,” Lam added.

IHS researchers say Chromebook is a mobile computing platform that boots up within eight seconds, connects to the web via Wi-Fi or 3G, and stores all its data in the cloud. But its focus on providing compelling user experience has resulted in some advanced hardware features not typically found in low-cost notebooks, said IHS.

Samsung’s vertical integration allowed the company to source components like the memory, battery and display in-house, enabling Samsung to reduce costs in some areas and also to differentiate the product from devices from competing manufacturers, said IHS.

The teardown found that the motherboard is the most expensive subsystem of the Chromebook, at $86.37, or 26.0 percent of the device’s total BOM. The major cost driver is the main memory supplied by Samsung Semiconductor, consisting of a 2-GB Double Data Rate 3 (DDR) SDRAM.

The motherboard also features a dual-core Atom N570 processor from Intel Corp. and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for computing security from Infineon Technologies, which is more often found in enterprise-level computers, said IHS.

Here’s the BOM rundown:

— A Samsung-made 12.1-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with improved light-emitting diode (LED) backlight technology that achieves 300nit brightness. The display costs $58.00, accounting for 17.5 percent of the total BOM.

— An all-day, 6-prismatic cell battery pack, which takes up nearly two-thirds of the total volume of the Chromebook. The 7.4-volt lithium ion polymer battery is sourced from Samsung SDI and carries a cost of $48.20, or 14.5 percent of the overall BOM.

— Global 3G wireless wide area network (WWAN) module from Hon Hai Precision Technology of Taiwan, consisting of a quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM, a quad-band HSPA/UTMS and a dual-band CDMA. The 3G WWAN module costs $42.85, or 12.9 percent of the total BOM.

— The mechanicals and enclosures including the keyboard and touchpad assemblies cost $40.45 or 12.2 percent of the BOM.

— A 16GB SSD for storage, sourced from SanDisk, at $28.00, or 8.4 percent of the total cost.

— Peripheral printed circuit board, which contains the Wi-Fi and PC camera modules, costs $17.85, or 5.4 percent of the BOM.

— Box contents, including an AC power adapter and other accessories, costs $10.40, or 3.1 percent of the total.

The 3G version of the Samsung Chromebook will be available at retail for $499, with a Wi-Fi version costing $70 less.

Acer Inc. also will be making a Chromebook, and Google will offer the devices on a subscription model for the education and enterprise segments. In the U.S., Verizon will be a partner on the Chromebook initiative, offering free 100 megabytes of 3G service each month for two years, reported IHS iSuppli.