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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet Teardown

06 September 2011
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

Back in November 2010, we were among the first firms to perform a teardown analysis on the original, and first Galaxy 'Tab'. When you look at the results and the specs on this Samsung 10.1 tablet you realize that the original Tab was likely rushed to market and was really an inferior product in many ways. While Samsung have clearly learned a lot from their collaborations on silicon with Apple, and have been one of the 'fast followers' of Apple products, their first tablet product was a bit of a non-starter. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 I a 'start over' product and vastly superior in every spec and aspect - larger screen, better (correct, if we may say) OS, different core processor (an Nvidia Tegra 2), and now 4G (LTE) functionality that raises the bar across the board on all spec fronts, and pretty much all cost fronts!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet Main ImageSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet Main Image

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is an Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)-based with a 10.1' Diagonal TFT LCD with PLS Technology 1280 x 800 Pixel (vs 7" diagonal in their first go-round), and is also equipped with the previously mentioned Tegra 2 processor at it's core, an in-house Samsung designed and fabbed chipset for 4G (LTE) connectivity (the same seen in all Samsung LTE designs at the time of writing), and a non-Qualcomm solution from the previously unseen (in our teardowns, that is) VIA Telecom for the CDMA connectivity. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also features a 3MP primary camera module and 2MP secondary (front-facing) camera. Other features include WLAN 802.11 b/g/n, 16GB of on-board NAND Flash (in the configuration we tore down) - oh and, Samsung made sure to 'one-up' Apple's thinness factor by making the overall envelope only 8.6mm thick vs 8.8 on the iPad 2. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE version retails, for either $529 (USD) or $629 (USD) for the 16GB and 32GB versions, but that's WITH a 2-year new contract activation on Verizon in the US (as of August 2011).

Android 3.1 - as mentioned - the fact that this is Android 3.1 based may seem a minor detail, but it was interesting that Samsung jumped the gun on the first Galaxy Tab and ended up releasing it with a version of Android (2.2 - ""Froyo") not even intended for tablets. The Motorola Xoom, which came out shortly thereafter in early 2011, leapfrogged the Samsung design with Android 3.0 (with a later rev running 3.1 as this device does). In fact - in almost every aspect except size - the original Galaxy Tab was just a larger version of the Galaxy phone that had just come out before it - and the OS that was intended just for smartphones further underscored that 'big smartphone' experience.

Applications Processor - Tegra 2 - The previous Galaxy Tab 7" had Samsung's cross-platform, in-house S5PC110A01 ""Hummingbird" applications processor - which is still in use in current phone designs such as the Samsung Droid Charge - and so Samsung working with Nvidia's Tegra 2 is very interesting as this is a departure (perhaps temporary for 'time to market' needs) from the Apple-like strategy that Samsung might have been expected to follow. In most other ways, Samsung is faithfully implementing Apple's super-leveraged application and reapplication of the same chips or variants of the same chips across multiple products and product lines - with the A4 and A5 processors figuring prominently in so many Apple mobile devices - so the same progression from processor to processor was expected in Samsung products. Not so - in fact the Tegra 2 is also in some LG products - and they have split their Android platforms 3 ways with different apps processors and manufacturers. Tegra 2 must be worth it for both of these players to make detours in favor of the Tegra processor family. This may be performance - but it may also be a result of Nvidia's position making them more flexible in negotiations in order to achieve greater market penetration.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Main PCB TopSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Main PCB Top

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the 3rd LTE Samsung device we have analyzed in recent months (the other being the Samsung Galaxy Indulge, and Droid Charge), and this model is one of many LTE devices carried by Verizon in the US.

In IHS iSuppli's teardowns group we have suddenly begun to see a number of 4G LTE and WiMax designs, and the most striking thing about all of them, from a hardware perspective for us, is the fact that the core silicon is coming from a whole new host of IC OEMs. Whereas before, for years, we were used to seeing the same big names in core silicon at the heart of the baseband section, whether it was Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, Infineon, etc. there were certain names we expected to see over and over in different handset OEM's designs - but with these new 4G designs, there are a number of new players showing up in these slots - it's a whole new frontier and chance to mix things up in terms of dominant chip suppliers as phone designs evolve ever forward.

LTE and the Strength of Samsung's Vertical Integration - What's also interesting about these LTE Samsung devices is the fact that Samsung, who also, in the 'after iPhone' years, have become adept and able to supply themselves vertically with core applications processors of their own design and manufacture, are now also capable of supplying themselves vertically with their own LTE silicon in the form of the CMC22000 processor present in both Samsung LTE designs analyzed. This vertical integration benefits Samsung from a cost and feature point of view, in the same way producing their own S5PCxxxx processors does. In fact, Samsung is the most vertically integrated handset manufacturer out there and supplies, from various Samsung divisions the bulk of the value of their phones, and this foray into core silicon for all their handsets, really makes Samsung the most formidable competitor out there. From displays, to memory, to core silicon, batteries, etc. Samsung controls so much of their designs internally in a way that no one else does - and that is worth underscoring especially now with this new crop of 4G designs.

Furthermore, to make things even more interesting, this Galaxy Tab and other one Samsung device we know of eschews the Qulacomm CDMA section that we saw as recently as the Samsung Indulge (also 4G) in favor of relatively new players - VIA Telecom (for the CDMA baseband), and Silicon Motion for the CDMA RF transceiver. It seems that Samsung may wish to seek independence from Qualcomm, or simply find that employing Apple's strategy of working with smaller, more flexible vendors gives them more room to negotiate - but this is speculation.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Main PCB BottomSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Main PCB Bottom

Target Market

General Consumers

Released

Late July 2011

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 currently sells on Verizon for either $529 USD or $629 USD (depending on Flash configuration 16GB or 32GB) with a 2 year new-customer contract.

Availability - North America (LTE, CDMA/PCS/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz))

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have applied a lifetime production volume of approximately 2M units. (Remember that the lifetime of such a product is about 1 - 2 years.)

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.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet Cost AnalysisSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers ~76% of Total Materials Cost

Samsung Electronics - LTN101AL03-801 - Display Module - Display Module - 10.1' Diagonal, 16.7M Color TFT LCD, PLS Technology, 1280 x 800 Pixels

Touchscreen / Display Window - 10.1', Capacitive, Glass/Glass Overlay, Painted, Printed, w/ Integral Flex PCB

Samsung Semiconductor - K4P8G304EC-FGC1 - SDRAM - Mobile DDR2, 1GB

Sandisk - SDIN402-16G - Flash - iNAND, 16GB

Samsung SDI - SP3676B1A(1S2P) - Battery Pack - Li-Polymer, 2-Cell, 3.7V, 7000mAh

Samsung Semiconductor - CMC22000 - Baseband Processor - LTE

Nvidia - Tegra 2 250 - Apps Processor - Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 64KB L1 Cache Per Core, 8-Core GeForce ULP GPU, 2 Simultaneous Display Controller, HDMI 1.3, 1080P Video Playback

VIA Telecom - CBP7.1 - Baseband Processor - CDMA2000 1X / EVDO REV A

Enclosure, Main, Top - Die-Cast Magnesium, Painted, w/ Injection Molded Glass-Filled Polycarbonate Frame, 2 Brass Inserts & PSA

DAP Corporation - 10-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+6+2, Lead-Free

Primary Camera Module - 3.15MP, FSI CMOS, 1/5' Format, Auto Focus Lens

Samsung Electro-Mechanics - SWB-B42 - Bluetooth / FM / WLAN Module - Contains Broadcom BCM4330, IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0+HS, FM Tx Rx

Silicon Motion - FC7831 - RF Transceiver - LTE Band 13/14

Direct Materials + Manufacturing $327.87

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 in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on device markings, we've based our analysis with the final assembly in Korea. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced in Korea.

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 wall power charger), 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.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Disassembly View 1Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Disassembly View 1

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE handset has an overall component count of 1397 (excluding box contents). The Apple iPad 2 3G came in at a lighter component count of 1239. We expected a higher device complexity for first generation LTE devices and the Samsung and other LTE designs delivered this. Until LTE becomes more popular and therefore a more commonly 'integrated' feature - component counts and costs will continue to be notably higher than 3G HSPA designs.

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.

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.

Design Notes

The Samsung Galaxy Tab pushes all of the same envelopes Apple does (especially in the thickness department), but Samsung, like Apple realize that the KEY to good user experience with a tablet device is the quality of the display and the touch overlay. In all tablets - these two elements will typically be the main cost driver and not selecting a display that is energy efficient, bright, with good viewing angle specs, etc will make or break the consumer desirability (and we are not even talking about OS or apps) in terms of hardware choices. Again - this is where Samsung has the advantage - they are one of the leading manufacturers of displays - so they chose their own 10.1" TFT display with PLS technology (LTN101AL03-801) - note that Apple (and HP (doh!)) both used competing LG Displays in their tablet(s).

The capacitive touchscreen, being 10.1" diagonal features a combination of Atmel chips (the previous Galaxy and so many other smartphones used the Atmel mXT224 chip), 1 master chip (mXT1386-U), and 3 'slave' chips mXT154. This adds cost and complexity - but that's just the nature of scaling touchscreens - bigger diagonals equals more touch nodes or sensor points on the screen - all of which need to be processed - bigger equals greater processing requirements. Also - this device still features haptic feedback - something Apple has yet to offer. Haptic touch feedback has been a standard of Samsung smartphone designs.

The core of the device, is of course, Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip (a Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GHz) - which is an interesting departure from the internally designed Samsung's S5PC110A01 ""Hummingbird" applications processor, still used in other Samsung phone designs. Samsung is still expected to venture deeper into the design and application of their own core silicon in future phones and tablets - much as Apple have done with their own A4, A5, etc. progression of internally developed apps processors.

Samsung's own LTE solution is seen in this tablet and at least one other Samsung LTE design we have recently seen - they sue their own core silicon in the form of Samsung's CMC22000 - which is seconded by a VIA Telecom (yes - not Qualcomm!) CBP7.1 CDMA chip. Furthermore, Samsung's LTE section also features Silicon Motion as the manufacturer of the RF transceivers for both LTE and CDMA sections (not Qualcomm again). This is a fairly rare find in our teardown annals, but VIA telecom have been at it for 8 years, and this is only the second sighting of their chips in our analyses. The same goes for Silicon Motion.

In addition - the Galaxy Tab 10.1 features 16GB of 'iNAND' NAND Flash from Sandisk (yes - not Samsung!) - 8Gb (1GB) of DDR2 (yes from Samsung) - and, to underscore the point above - Samsung's own chip as the display driver. TI provides one of the main power management chips (TPS658624), and Wolfson scores the audio codec slot with their WM8994 chip - which we have seen before in about 5 other devices, most from Samsung.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE design:

Display / Touchscreen

  • Display - Samsung Electronics - LTN101AL03-801 - 10.1' Diagonal, 16.7M Color TFT LCD, PLS Technology, 1280 x 800 Pixels
  • Touchscreen / Display Window - 10.1', Capacitive, Glass Overlay, Painted, Printed, w/ Integral Flex PCB

Main PCB

Apps Processing

  • Apps Processor - Nvidia - Tegra 2 250 - Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 64KB L1 Cache Per Core, 8-Core GeForce ULP GPU, 2 Simultaneous Display Controller, HDMI 1.3, 1080P Video Playback

Baseband

  • LTE - Samsung Semiconductor - CMC22000 - Baseband Processor - LTE
  • CDMA - VIA Telecom - CBP7.1 - Baseband Processor - CDMA2000 1X / EVDO REV A

Memory

  • NAND Flash - Sandisk - SDIN402-16G - iNAND, 16GB
  • SDRAM - Samsung Semiconductor - K4P8G304EC-FGC1 - Mobile DDR2, 1GB

RF / PA

RF Xcvrs

  • LTE - Silicon Motion - FC7831 - RF Transceiver - LTE
  • CDMA - Silicon Motion - FC7780 - RF Transceiver - Dual-Band CDMA2000 1x/EVDO, 800/1900MHz?.

User Interface (and sensors)

  • Display Driver - Samsung Semiconductor - CMC6230R
  • Audio Codec - Wolfson Microelectronics - WM8994ECS/R - 24bit, 4-Channel DAC & 2-Channel ADC?

Touchscreen Controller

  • (1) - Atmel - mXT1386-U - Master, Capacitive, 12-Bit, Up to 1386 Channels, 150Hz, USB2.0 / I2C Interface
  • (3) - Atmel - mXT154 - Slave, Capacitive, 12-Bit, Up to 154 Channels, 4.3 inch Diagonal Screen Size
  • LVDS Transmitter - Texas Instruments - SN75LVDS83BZQLR - 28-Bit, Up to 135Mpps?
  • HD Link Transmitter - Silicon Image - SiI9234BT - Mobile High-Definition Link Transmitter

Sensors

  • Gyroscope - Invensense - MPU-3050 - 3-Axis, 16-Bit Digital Output?
  • Imagis ISA1200 Haptic Driver - ERM/LRA Actuator, PWM Input Control, Serial Interface
  • eCompass - AKM Semiconductor - AK8975C - 3-Axis, Digital Output
  • Accelerometer - Kionix - KXTF9 Series - 3-Axis, 12-Bit, Digital Output

Power Management

  • PMIC - Texas Instruments - TPS658624
  • PMIC - Maxim - MAX8996

BT / FM / GPS / WLAN

  • Bluetooth / FM / WLAN - Broadcom - BCM4330 - IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, FM Radio Receiver & Transmitter

Camera Modules

  • Primary - 3.15MP, FSI CMOS, 1/5' Format, Auto Focus Lens
  • Secondary - 2.0MP, FSI CMOS, 1/4.5' Format, Fixed Lens

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Box ContentsSamsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch LTE Tablet - Box Contents



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