Overview / Main Features
The Samsung Series 5 notebook is every bit a full size 12.1 inch laptop but just don't call it a computer. Rather, Google (via Samsung) would like you to think of Chromebook a fully featured, all-day powered, web-centric, cloud-computing device that gives you the entire web experience without the burden of the traditional PC hardware design overhead. As part of their bold new take on mobile computing that is distinct from smartphones and tablets, Google has place its formidable weight behind their Chromebook initiative. The Samsung Series 5 is the first commercial implementation of Google's Cloud computing vision where there's less emphasis on hardware but rather refocusing that attention on an ubiquitous and always-connected user experience. What Google and Samsung have created is a mobile computing platform that boots up within 8 seconds, connect effortlessly to the web via WiFi or 3G and where all data are stored in the cloud; thus making the physical hardware less and less crucial and more or less disposable.
As much as Google would like to de-emphasize the role of hardware, it is specifically hardware and the cost of the hardware that critical to the success of the Chromebook. Priced at around $500 ($430 for the WiFi only model), the Samsung Series 5 is built unlike any other laptop or netbook on the market. It features a high quality 12.1 inch display with improved LED backlight technology that achieves 300nit brightness performance. Also, the Samsung Chromebook features an all-day 6 prismatic cell battery pack that takes up nearly 2/3rd the volume of the device. As for the heart of the Chromebook design, Samsung has incorporated a new dual core Intel Atom processor N570 running at 1.66GHz along with 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 16GB mSATA SSD local storage. Additional memory and peripherals can be attached via the USB port or the SD memory card slot. Also, there is an integrated webcam that integrates into Google's other asset or services like GTalk and Google Plus.
Net-savvy computer users
Pricing and Availability
Pricing - The 3G version of the Series 5 Chromebook sells for $499 while a WiFi only model sells for $70 less at $429.
Availability - Global (assumed)
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have applied a lifetime production volume of approximately 2M 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 are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.
Main Cost Drivers (~85% of Total Materials Cost)
$58 - Samsung - LTN121AT11 - Display Module Value Line Item - 12.1" LCD, 1280 x 800 Pixels, 16:10 Aspect Ratio, LED Backlight
$48.20 - Samsung SDI - AA-PLPN6AN - Battery - Li-Ion Polymer, 7.4V, 8280mAh
$42.85 - Hon Hai - WWAN Module - Qualcomm Gobi 2000, Quad-Band EDGE/GPRS/GSM, Quad-Band HSPA/UTMS, Dual-Band EV-DO/CMDA
$33.37 - Intel - N570 - CPU - Intel Atom Processor N570, Dual Core, 1.66 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 45nm Process
$28 - SanDisk - SDSA4DH-016G - SSD Module Value Line Item - 16GB, SLC NAND, mSATA
$14.16 - Samsung Semiconductor - K4B2G0846C-HCH9 - SDRAM - DDR3, 2Gb (256M x 8), 1.5V (Qty:8)
$8.95 - Keyboard Assembly - Injection Molded Plastic Keys, Mounted on Metal Backing Plate, w/ Interconnect Flex PCB
$6.66 - Nan Ya PCB - 8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free, Halogen-Free
$6.40 - Webcam PCB - Contains 1.0MP Camera Module, Sunplus SPCA2080A Camera Controller, 1 MEMS Microphone & ALS
$5.89 - Lite-On - AC Adapter - 19V, 2.1A, 40W, w/ 6ft Cord
$5.75 - Atheros - AR5BHB116 - WLAN Half Mini PCIe Module Value Line Item - IEEE802.11b/g/n, 2x2 MIMO, Contains AR9382-AL1A Single-Chip Solution
$5.57 - Intel - CG82NM10SLGXX - Platform Controller Hub - Intel CG82NM10 Chipset, 130nm, 2.1W
$4.97 - Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS Polycarbonate, w/ ESD/EMI Coating
$3.70 - Synaptics - Touchpad Assembly
$2.84 - Enclosure, Main, Top - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS Polycarbonate, Painted, Printed, w/ 19 Pressed-In Threaded Brass Inserts
Direct Materials $323.37
Direct Materials + Manufacturing$332.80
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.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
Based on device markings, we've based our analysis with the final assembly in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced 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 power adaptors), 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 Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has an overall component count of 1697 (excluding box contents), of which 921 reside on the motherboard and 522 in both the WWAN and WLAN modules.
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 China.
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.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook represents a rather interesting piece of hardware. Unlike netbooks, the Series 5 features premium components such as 12 inch / 300nit display, 8280mAh battery pack, integrated webcam and oversized clickable touchpad which is an indication that this laptop is design to address the higher end market. But unlike the more popular tablets, the Chromebook is designed with an Intel x86 CPU and runs a cloud based OS which helps Samsung save cost in components such as the 16GB SSD (traditional netbooks would have 250GB HDD or greater at higher costs). At the end, the Chromebook is targeting a new product category: a fully featured and all-day powered cloud based mobile computing device that has a cost that's comparable with smaller display netbooks and tablets. Only time will tell whether this device category will take hold in the greater marketplace.
- Display Module - Samsung - LTN121AT11, 12.1" LCD, 1280 x 800 Pixels, 16:10 Aspect Ratio, LED Backlight
- CPU - Intel - N570, Intel Atom Processor N570, Dual Core, 1.66 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 45nm Process
- SDRAM - Samsung Semiconductor - K4B2G0846C-HCH9, DDR3, 2Gb (256M x 8), 1.5V (qty. 8)
- Flash - Macronix - MX25L3206EM2I-12G, NOR, 32Mb, SPI, 80MHz
- Platform Controller Hub - Intel - CG82NM10SLGXX, Intel CG82NM10 Chipset, 130nm, 2.1W
- Battery Charger - Texas Instruments - BQ24725RGRR, Multi-Chemistry, Host-Controlled, w/ System Power Selector, AC Over-Current Protection
I/O & Interface
- Embedded Controller - SMSC - MEC1300-NU
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) - Infineon - SLB9635TT1.2, Microcontroller for Computing Security
- Audio Codec - Realtek - ALC272-GR, High Definition, 4-Channel, Integrated Amplifiers
- Clock Generator - Silego - SLG8SP513V
- WWAN Module - Hon Hai - Qualcomm Gobi 2000, Quad-Band EDGE/GPRS/GSM, Quad-Band HSPA/UTMS, Dual-Band EV-DO/CMDA
- WLAN Half Mini PCIe Module - Atheros - AR5BHB116, IEEE802.11b/g/n, 2x2 MIMO, Contains AR9382-AL1A Single-Chip Solution
- Battery Pack - Samsung SDI - AA-PLPN6AN, Li-Ion Polymer, 7.4V, 8280mAh