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Mobile Devices

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

Research In Motion's (RIM) has been undergoing a bit of a design renaissance lately with the much anticipated releases of both the Blackberry Bold and now the Blackberry equivalent of an "iPhone killer": the Storm.

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB TopBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top
The Storm features a number of firsts: the first touchscreen Blackberry (it seems strange to report this - but yes, there have been no previous touchscreen incarnations of the Blackberry series). It is also the first phone we have torn down that supports both CDMA/EvDO and WCDMA/HSDPA networks in a single design, and the Storm is also the first Blackberry we have torn down that does not feature the typical design based around a Marvell PXA processor, but rather is featuring Qualcomm: and for good reason - they are the only chip supplier to really offer such a hybrid or "convergence" solution that supports EvDO and HSDPA. So, if you want to support both markets without having to deal with two different designs - here is the solution.

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB TopBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top
The touchscreen and resulting user-interface, though, is the focal point of the Storm's design from the user's point of view, as it is with the iPhone, and here RIM have added a special differentiating feature - the "clickable" screen. The one thing touchscreens lack is that feedback mechanism you get from a conventional keyboard that clicks when you depress it, letting you know quickly that your choice has been registered. Clearly RIM have felt this was lacking and added an actual physical button / switch mechanism that the touchscreen rides on top of. When a user makes a selection with the touchscreen, they "lock it in" by pressing down on the screen and can feel and hear the click. It's an interesting take on the lack of tactile response.

In sum the Blackberry is a 3G "candybar" format, touchscreen-oriented (without conventional keyboard), CDMA 2000 / EvDO/GSM/WCDMA/HSDPA world phone with GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, with a 3.25" diagonal display, (slightly smaller than the iPhone), a 3.2 megapixel, auto-focus camera module (one-upping the iPhone again), 1GB of onboard memory, and in the case of the unit we purchased, an additional 8GB of flash in the form of a MicroSD card. One big missing feature: WLAN (802.11)!

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB BottomBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Main PCB Bottom
Target Market

Primarily for high-end mobile users, the Storm's aesthetics and functionality are overtly designed to attract potential Apple iPhone users.

Released

Press releases, Oct 8, 2008, product release, hardware November 14, 2008 in the USA.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - Mobile handset pricing typically has little bearing on the true market value of the device due to the fact that service carrier invariably use subsidies to incentivize consumers to commit to long term service contracts. In the US, at Verizon, the first US service-provider to offer the Storm, the Storm is being sold for $249.99 (USD) with a $50 rebate, bringing the balance to $199.99, or the same price point as iPhone.

Availability - At the time of writing (January 2009), the Blackberry Storm is available in several global markets in North America (US/Canada) and Europe, through Vodafone. In the case of Vodafone, the model number is "9500" which suggest it may be an UMTS only solution (as opposed to the CDMA2000/UMTS combo of the 9530 under analysis).

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 2.7 M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

iSuppli's Design Forecast Tool (DFT) and Market Shares

As part of iSuppli Design Forecast Tool (DFT), we forecast handset shipments by major design feature and manufacture, as well as the number of design starts a manufacturer will have by feature set.

In 2008 we estimated that RIM would ship a mix of 3G phones that would amount to 5 million units during the course of the year. The Storm represents a subset of this annual figure, but is expected to have a lifetime of at least 1 year - possibly 2, depending on the market. Research in Motion has a small position in the overall handset marketplace and we forecast a total shipment of 9 million RIM handsets in the year of 2008.

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Display Module Exploded ViewBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Display Module Exploded View
Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (Representing ~66% of Total Materials Costs)

$34.82 - MSM7600 - Qualcomm - Baseband Processor - Single Chip, CDMA 2000 / EvDO & Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps, GPS, Integrated 400MHz ARM11 Applications Processor & 274MHz ARM9 Microprocessor

$20.00 - Display Module - 3.25" Diagonal, 65K Color TFT LCD, 480 x 360 pixels

$15.50 - Synaptics - Touchscreen Overlay - Capacitive, w/ Glass Faceplate

$13.15 - Camera Module - 3.2MP CMOS, 1/4" Format, Auto Focus Lens

$11.50 - SanDisk - MicroSD Memory Card - 8GB

$7.50 - KMYFG0C0CM-D302 - Samsung Semiconductor - MCP - 8Gb MLC moviNAND Flash + 1Gb OneNAND Flash + 1Gb Mobile SDRAM

$6.20 - 14-Layer - PCB - FR4/RCF HDI, 4+6+4, Lead-Free, Halogen-Free

$5.38 - 4-Layer - PCB - Flex Kapton, Lead-Free

$5.35 - Battery - Li-Ion, 3.7V, 1400mAh

$3.13 - RTR6285 - Qualcomm - RF Transceiver - Single-Chip, ZIF, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Tri-Band UMTS Transceiver, HSDPA, w/ Integrated GPS Receiver & Receive Diversity

Direct Materials $186.82

Materials and Manufacturing $202.89



What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Manufacturing Partners (EMS/ODM)

RIM is using Jabil, an EMS provider, to produce the Storm and Bold.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in Canada. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were sourced in lower cost regions in China.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as display), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Storm, when compared with the Apple iPhone 3G (to which it is most often held in comparison), is marginally more expensive, and complex (in terms of sheer component count) than the iPhone, but that is to be expected given the extended feature-set of the Storm vis--vis the iPhone (dual networks). The total component count of the storm is 1177 of which 151 are mechanical in nature. The iPhone 3G, by comparison features 1116 components.This is not bad at all, and again, makes sense based on the differentiated feature-set.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for Eastern Europe.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Overall Image SensorBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Overall Image Sensor
Design Notes

The Storm is a completely different electronic approach from all previously-analyzed RIM / Blackberry devices for one reason: all previous designs were based on a Marvell PXA processor core which played the dual-role of being the core baseband processor and applications processor. In the Storm, the whole design really revolves around a Qualcomm chipset. Furthermore, with the exception of memory and Bluetooth (CSR), there are really no other silicon manufacturers of significance applied here.

The core of the design is Qualcomm's MSM7600 (a first) chip which again supports both the world of CDMA and WCDMA and supports both EvDO and HSDPA. Qualcomm is, at the time of writing, the only manufacturer to provide such a solution. The alternative would have been a very expensive dual chipset design which would have been much more expensive and taken up far too much internal real-estate to hit the design envelope goals. This design, as a result of the Qualcomm chip, is more integrated.

Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Overall Image SensorBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Overall Image Sensor
Here is a summary of the major components used in the RIM Blackberry Storm 9530 design:

Main PCB

Baseband

  • Baseband Processor - Qualcomm - MSM7600 - Single Chip, CDMA 2000 / EvDO & Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps, GPS, Integrated 400MHz ARM11 Applications Processor & 274MHz ARM9 Microprocessor

Memory

  • MCP - Samsung Semiconductor - KMYFG0C0CM-D302 - 8Gb MLC moviNAND Flash + 1Gb OneNAND Flash + 1Gb Mobile SDRAM

RF Transceiver (Dual)

  • RF Transceiver (WCDMA) - Qualcomm - RTR6285 - Single-Chip, ZIF, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Tri-Band UMTS Transceiver, HSDPA, w/ Integrated GPS Receiver & Receive Diversity
  • RF Transceiver (CDMA) - Qualcomm - RTR6500 - Single-Chip, CDMA2000, 0.18-micron RF CMOS, w/ Integrated GPS Receiver & Receive Diversity

Battery / Power Management

  • Power Management IC - Qualcomm - PM7540 - w/ Integrated USB Transceiver

User Interface

  • Bluetooth - CSR - BC63B239A04IYBE - BlueCore6ROM - Single Chip Solution, V2.1+EDR
  • Inertial Sensor - ST Microelectronics - LIS302DL

Power Amplifier

  • PAM - CDMA2000 1X, 1880MHz - Avago - ACPM-7833-TR1
  • PAM - CDMA2000 1X, 836.5MHz - Avago - ACPM-7813-TR1
  • PAM - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE - TriQuint Semiconductor - TQM7M5012
  • PAM - WCDMA, 1950MHz - Anadigics - AWT6241RM27Q7

Display

  • 3.25" Diagonal, 65K Color TFT LCD, 480 x 360 pixels


Blackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Box ContentsBlackberry (RIM) Storm 9530 Mobile Phone - Box Contents



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