Mobile Devices

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone Teardown

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

Main Features

Quad-Band GSM, GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0 capable PDA phone with big focus on E-mail functionality and internet access. Also features a 35 key QWERTY keyboard and fairly broad 2.5" TFT display.

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom - Shielding in Place & Antenna RemovedBlackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom - Shielding in Place & Antenna Removed

The Blackberry 8700c model from Research In Motion (RIM) is one of the newest releases from Blackberry, and this model, in particular (denoted by the "c') was made specifically to be marketed by Cingular in the US - there is also a Blackberry 8700r marketed by Rogers Wireless which was released quasi-simultaneously. The Blackberry 8700c. is another of the "handlheld" series of Blackberry devices available. As we saw from our previous Blackberry device analysis (7230 - iSuppli analysis from Q3 2004), Blackberry devices are no-nonsense business-oriented PDA phones with few frivolous features, like the now ever-popular camera, MP3 players or video playback features.

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom - Shielding in Place & Antenna RemovedBlackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom - Shielding in Place & Antenna Removed
However, what Blackberry lacks in frills in makes up for in sheer scroll and click speed performance and serious e-mail / PDA functionality with little or no processing lag or delays - which is often the case with more feature-rich consumer phones. Furthermore the Blackberry probably has one of the larger QWERTY keyboards on the market making it certainly more desirable for users using the e-mailing feature more heavily - which is the primary functional strength of the Blackberry.

Target Market

This phone is targeted to serious business users, and is marketed not just at individuals but the corporations who employ them, and is, to some extent probably seen as the kind of equipment that would likely be the decision-making domain of IT departments in many companies. When compared with more heavily subsidized standard phones the price tag on these devices and lack of "fun" media features (camera, video playback, etc.) clearly relegates this device to the serious user.


November 1, 2005, per press release from Research in Motion for the Blackberry 8700c

Pricing and Availability

Other versions of the 8700 may come along - however the 8700c is a Cingular-specific model that is unlikely to be different from other 8700 letter revisions, other than the letter and markings denoting the Cingular branding on the device. At Cingular this PDA-phone competes head-to-head with the Palm Treo 650 and although they sell for different retail prices* (Blackberry 8700c retail price = $349, Palm Treo 650 retail price = $399), their post-rebate subsidized price is the same - $299. (* - Even the "retail" prices from Cingular are subsidized, as we spent $450 to purchase this device from Cingular without a contract.)

Volume Estimations

We are estimating that RIM will produce approximately 300,000 units over a two year product lifespan of the Blackberry 8700c. That is very low compared with most other models of phones we typically analyze, however this is based on Research in Motion's overall position in the marketplace, as well as the fact that this EDGE capable set is yet a further sub-segment of the overall marketplace.

As a reminder, volume production assumptions primarily affect our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially).

Market Sector / Performance

Research in Motion has a small position in the overall handset marketplace. In 2005 we estimate that about 810 million handsets shipped during the course of the year and that that figure will increase in 2006 to 850 million units. Of those figures, we estimate that RIM shipped a mere 3.5 million units in 2005, and that that figure will increase only marginally to 3.64 M units in 2006. However, in EDGE capable product we estimate that RIM shipped much less - about 90,000 in 2005, and should ship about 255,000 EDGE capable devices in 2006. It is primarily based on this latter figure that we have estimated the 8700c volumes.

Function / Performance

No specific performance testing was performed on the Blackberry 8700c, other than to test basic functionality - but as we did not have a data connection it was impossible to test the key features of this device.

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (Representing approximately 64% of total materials costs)

Intel core processor with stacked memory MCP~$31

Display ~$27

Intel 256Mb NOR Flash - Discrete~$6

Main PCB - 8 Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+4+2 ~$5

Battery - Battery - Li-Ion - 3.7V, 1000mAh ~$4

Subtotal of Main Cost Drivers~$70

Total Materials Costs~$110

Materials and Manufacturing*~$123

* - The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect only the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), manufacturing and test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the manufacture of the core device itself - cost of shipping, logistics, marketing and other channel costs including not only 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 (phone, battery, charger and some accessories in this case - not packaging and literature) itself.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS provider

This RIM Blackberry 8700c was produced (final assembly, that is) in Canada, per markings on the device itself. As we also do with product produced in Asia, we generally assume that where not noted, however, that sub-assemblies and some custom manufactured items (plastics, mechanicals, etc.) will be produced in lower-cost areas that are in a nearby area - in this case we assumed Mexico. We therefore assumed that the PCBA was assembled in Mexico, and that the custom mechanical components were also produced in Mexico. This is not known - and these are merely assumptions.

Design for Manufacturing / Complexity

The Blackberry is a very simple phone design from a mechanical perspective at only 61 components, this is a very straightforward design with few "extra" mechanical components. From an electronic perspective the phone is well within norms for phones with similar functionality. In fact for a PDA phone, at a total of 526 components (366 of which are passives), this is very light on overall component count for a PDA/phone thanks to some extent to the integration level of the Intel PXA901BC312 processor which performs the bulk of the work.

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Display Module - DisassembledBlackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Display Module - Disassembled
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, increased in this case because of assumed relatively low production volumes (which increase the per unit amortized cost of certain NRE, tooling and other up-front charges), and the country of final assembly, being Canada, where our assumed loaded skilled (technical) and semi-skilled labor rates are much higher than Mexico or China.

Design Notes

The Blackberry 8700c is unique in our teardown research. We have never seen a phone or PDA design before based primarily around this Intel applications processor, which appears to be a custom item, or at least a derivative of some "standard chipset" for RIM an the Blackberry. This processor may be similar to Intel's PXA800F series of processors for phones - but this chip is larger, and features EDGE (instead of just GPRS in the PXA800F chipset) support, and also features something we haven't seen before - a package on package implementation where an extra MCP memory chip is stacked on top; actually surface mounted on top of the processor. The two discrete packages, stacked are then mounted as a single unit on the main PCB. This second memory MCP provides a great deal of memory - 256Mb of NOR flash and 128Mb of pSRAM.

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Display Module - DisassembledBlackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Display Module - Disassembled

Here is a summary of the major components used in BlackBerry 8700c design:

Main PCB

  • Baseband and Power Management
  • Baseband/Applications Processor - Intel - PXA901BC312
  • Includes "Memory Subsystem" - or separate MCP stacked and soldered directly to the apps processor. This MCP features 256Mb of additional NOR Flash and 128Mb of pSRAM (package on package solution).
  • Power Management - Texas Instruments - TPS65800RTQT


  • Intel - xx4000L0YTB0 - NOR Flash 256Mb
  • See "Memory Subsystem" Stacked on Intel PXA901 Processor


  • RF - Quad-Band Transceiver - RF Micro Devices - RF6025
  • PAM - Anadigics - AWT6168RM11P

User Interface

  • Bluetooth - CSR - BC41B143A05-IRK-E4 - BlueCore4 ROM - Single Chip Bluetooth Solution

Display Module

  • Single display with 2.5" 65K Color TFT (240x320)

Blackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Box FrontBlackberry (RIM) 8700c Mobile Phone_(iSi) - Box Front

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