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Mobile Devices

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset Teardown

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

Overview / Main Features

The Lenovo A60 is a cheap (with a capital letter "C) Android smartphone. According to Lenovo docs - the phone should sell for less than 1000 RMB (~$15&). Most of the smartphones we see that are Android based are closer to the $200 in BOM costs only, so we are fascinated when we see fringy solutions that lower the pricing and cost bar. The other thing that is interesting is there are no direct references to the A60 smartphone as a product on the Lenovo website. It seems that they should be promoting such a phone, but only two references buried in documentation on the Lenovo site could be found. It seems they want this phone to fly under the radar.

In any case, the Lenovo A60, despite being such an inexpensive Android phone, still supports HSPA connectivity, features a full 3.5" diagonal TFT with capacitive touchscreen, a 3.2MP camera module (and secondary VGA module for video calls), dual-SIM Cards (even crazier considering the price point), Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc. and accelerometer for screen orientation. In fact - it has a very solid feature set for the price point.

As one might imagine - the way to do this is by going with a Mediatek suite of chips. Mediatek is well-known as a price leader in the lower end handset space that has been moving up the food chain to ever more powerful chips that will ultimately take on dominant vendors in the space such as Qualcomm. And this phone is basically a Mediatek showcase featuring a single apps processor / baseband MT6573 chip, MT6162 RF transceiver, and a chip that goes up against Broadcom and TI - an MT6620 'combo' chip that features WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM Radio functionality all in one chip. To further reduce costs, even the touchscreen features lesser known 'FocalTech' for the touchscreen control.

Having said that - this phone does not lack in tier 1 component supplier content as it uses RF Micro Devices, Skyworks, Murata, Yamaha and others in various slots. The bottom line is - this is a cheap smartphone and the fascination is - how low can you go with an Android BOM.

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset Main ImageLenovo A60 Mobile Handset Main Image

Target Market

China - but may eventually be a good phone for emerging markets and entry-level established markets as well.

Released

August 2011 in China.

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Main PCB TopLenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - Various e-tailers have this phone available (at the time of writing) at some very different price points. While Lenovo's documentation suggests the pricing should be about $160USD, the lowest price we found was closer to $170 USD, with most other online sales going for closer to $200 USD.

Availability - China for the time being. This model is also offered, subsidized, by China Unicom.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 1.5M units over a 1 year production lifetime. This could turn out to be a modest estimate for a phone sold in China.

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.

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Main PCB BottomLenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Main PCB Bottom

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

Looking at IHS iSuppli's Design Forecast Tool - we estimate that Lenovo will only ship about 7 million total phone units in 2011 (all models mixed). Lenovo is a modest volume player in the handset space.

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset Cost AnalysisLenovo A60 Mobile Handset Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Lenovo makes razor thin margins as a company, based on their financials. Having said that, and looking at the cost structure of this device it seems like this product has the opportunity to be more profitable than their existing business. Having said that, we recognize that our teardown analyses do not account for all costs - and we know that Lenovo's true total cost for the A60 is higher than the $100 cost mark in our analysis. Other costs that are not included are listed below and also include some margin for Wistron. Our cost perspective in this analysis is that of the EMS provider.

In terms of cost this is the first sub $100 smartphone we have analyzed. Having said that - the iPhone 3GS based on current pricing estimates we believe is quickly approaching the $100 BOM (for now it's around $117 at the time of writing - October 2011. Clearly the Mediatek solution helps achieve this cost goal.

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Disassembly View 1Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Disassembly View 1

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~73% of total materials cost

Mediatek - MT6573 - Apps / Baseband Processor - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, HSPA, 650MHz ARM11 CPU (Qty:1)

Samsung - K524G2GACB-A050 - MCP - 4Gb NAND Flash + 2Gb Mobile DDR (Qty:1)

Shenzhen Yassy Technology - YT35F52MHB-GRL - Display Module - 3.5' Diagonal, 262K Color TFT LCD, 320 x 480 Pixels (Qty:1)

Touchscreen Assembly / Display Window - 3.5' Diagonal, Capacitive, Glass Overlay, Painted, Printed, w/ Integral Flex PCB (Qty:1)

Bluetooth / FM / GPS / WLAN Module - Contains Mediatek MT6620, IEEE802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0, GPS, FM Tx Rx (Qty:1)

Sunny Optical Technology (Group) Company - - Primary Camera Module - 3.2MP, CMOS, 1/4' Format, Fixed Lens (Qty:1)

ADATA - AUSD2GZ-R - MicroSD Memory Card - 2GB (Qty:1)

BL171 - Battery - Li-Ion, 3.7V, 1500mAh, 5.55Wh (Qty:1)

China Circuit Technology - - 8-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+4+2, Lead-Free (Qty:1)

Mediatek - MT6162 - RF Transceiver - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA (Qty:1)

Total BOM & Manufacturing Costs (Direct Materials + Conversion Costs) $89.60

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

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Lenovo has a joint venture with Compal in China for products made specifically for that market, however we also know that Lenovo has had a relationship with Foxconn (Hon Hai) for smartphone programs (on an ODM basis) in the past. Lenovo also use Wistron NeWeb (a subsidiary of Wistron) for some Andoird builds and we speculate that in these cases Lenovo owns the design and uses Wistron NeWeb as an EMS for these (this) phone(s).

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were 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 displays), 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 Lenovo A60, as one might imagine, because of the price point, shoots for simplicity of design to help keep the cost down and it does. The Mediatek chips help aggregate and integrate functionality, and the net result is an Android smartphone that weighs in at only 685 components. Most other Android smartphones are far more complex and richer in components, but again this lower count is a reflection of the goal of hitting tight budgetary goals. As a point of reference - on average most HTC smartphones are in the range of slightly over 1000 components.

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.

Design Notes

The Lenovo A60 smartphone is, on the inside a simple design with most of the 'extra' features' integrated by mediate into their chips. This phone is basically a Mediatek showcase featuring a single apps processor / baseband MT6573 chip, MT6162 RF transceiver, and a chip that goes up against Broadcom and TI - an MT6620 'combo' chip that features WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM Radio functionality all in one chip. Furthermore, Mediatek essentially offers ODM design services for phone designs, so a manufacturer like Lenovo, with limited handset design teams and budgets, can rely on Mediatek to design an entire PCB for them (showcasing their chips wherever possible), allowing Mediatek to maximize their print position and profit, while delivering a core part of the phone system within a certain budgetary range. Then Lenovo are free to focus with Wistron on designing essentially the phone 'shell'.

The touchscreen also features lesser known 'FocalTech' for the touchscreen control.

Having said that - this phone does not lack in tier 1 component supplier content as it uses RF Micro Devices, Skyworks, Murata, Yamaha and others in various slots. The bottom line is - this is a cheap smartphone and the fascination is - how low can you go with an Android BOM.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Lenovo A60 design:

Display / Touchscreen Assembly

Display - 3.5' Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 320 x 480 Pixels

Touchscreen Assembly / Display Window - 3.5' Diagonal, Capacitive, Glass Overlay, Painted, Printed, w/ Flex PCB

Main PCB

Apps Processing / Baseband

Applications / Baseband Processor - Mediatek - MT6573 - 676MHz ARM11 CPU, Multimedia Subsystem, EDGE/GPRS/HSPA

Memory

MCP - Samsung - K524G2GACB-A050 - 4Gb (256M x 16) NAND Flash + 2Gb (64M x 32) Mobile DDR

RF / PA

RF Transceiver - Mediatek - MT6162 - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA

BT / FM / GPS / WLAN

Combo Chip - Mediatek - MT6620 - Single Chip, Bluetooth V4.0, FM Receiver & Transmitter, GPS w/ -165dB Sensitivity, IEEE802.11a/b/g/n, w/ Dual-Band LNA and 2.4GHz PA

Camera Modules

Primary - 3.2MP, CMOS, 1/4' Format, Fixed Focus Lens

Secondary - VGA, CMOS, 1/11' Format, Fixed Focus Lens

Lenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Box ContentsLenovo A60 Mobile Handset - Box Contents



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