Acquired Electronics360

Mobile Devices

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet Teardown

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

Overview / Main Features

The RIM Blackberry Playbook is a 7-inch touchscreen tablet which is billed as the Canadian firm's answer to the wildly successful Apple iPad. First announced in fall of 2010, the Playbook did not make it out into retail until April 2011. The Blackberry maker had decided to go with a brand new operating system (QNX) for the Playbook which required time and effort to build up and sustain a viable ecosystem of applications, software developers and tools. This move was a necessary effort but did pushed RIM into a design cycle hole as both Google's Android and Apple released new 10-inch tablet to the market during that time.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Device View 1RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Device View 1
What the Blackberry Playbook does offer to the marketplace is more a companion product to their line of Blackberry smartphones than a true stand alone tablet. Most of the connectivity and productivity software are only enabled when the Playbook is paired with another Blackberry mobile device.

The design of the 7-Inch Playbook is reminiscent of Samsung's early retort to the iPad with their Galaxy Tab in 2010 - both uses a smaller (arguably, non-ideal tablet screen size) display and form. The initial Playbook model is WiFi only however, future models with 3G and 4G connectivity are promised. Inside, we find that the RIM Playbook does keep up to date with their competitors in terms of computing power. A Texas Instruments OMAP 4 dual core apps processor drives the Playbook and its QNX OS. That apps processor is supported by a full gigabyte of DDR2 RAM, again, putting the Playbook on parity with what we've been seeing from Android Honeycomb tablets in 2011. In fact, a significant portion of the design in the Playbook has TI logos all over it. From the OMAP 4 apps processor, we also see TI power management ICs and TI WiLink 7 single chip WiFi and Bluetooth solution. This is not unexpected as we've seen TI in Blackberry devices in the past.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Display ModuleRIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Display Module
Like most late model tablets, the Playbook comes replete with sensors like eCompass (from Honeywell), accelerometers (Bosch Sensortec) and 3-axis gyros (Invensense). The touchscreen controller uses a Cypress Semi part - typically we see Atmel in Android powered tablets in this slot.

To keep the Playbook humming along, RIM uses a 5400mAh dual cell battery pack which is better than the 4000mAh seen in the Samsung Galaxy Tab but well short of the 6930mAh in the iPad2.

Target Market

Primarily Enterprise


April 2011

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The 16GB version of RIM Blackberry Playbook retails for $499 (the 32GB and 64GB versions retail for $100 increments more per model).

Availability - Global

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have applied a lifetime production volume of approximately 1M 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.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Primary Camera ModuleRIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Primary Camera Module

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (~90% of Total Materials Cost)

  • $60 - LG Display - Display Module - 7" Diagonal, TFT LCD, 1024 x 600 Pixels, LED Backlight
  • $52 - Touchscreen / Display Window - 7", Capacitive, w/ Integrated Flex PCB & Cypress Touch Controller
  • $26 - Elpida - EDB8064B2PB-8D-F - SDRAM - Mobile DDR2, 1GB, PoP
  • $23 - SanDisk - SDIN5C2-16G - Flash - iNAND, 16GB, MLC
  • $18.60 - Simplo Technology - SQU-1001 - Battery Pack - Li-Ion Polymer, 2-Cell, 3.7V, 5400mAh, w/ Flex PCB & Board to board Connector
  • $16.96 - Texas Instruments - OMAP4430DCBS - Apps Processor - TI OMAP 4, Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9, Support 1080P HD, 1GHz, 45nm, PoP
  • $7.90 - ST Microelectronics - Camera Module Value Line Item - 5MP, CMOS, 1/4" Format, Fixed Lens, Socketed Module
  • $6.13 - Texas Instruments - WL1283C - Bluetooth / FM / GPS / WLAN - WiLink 7.0 Single Chip, 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, GPS, 65nm
  • $4.90 - ST Microelectronics - Camera Module Value Line Item - 3MP, CMOS, 1/5" Format, Fixed Lens, Socketed Module
  • $2.96 - UniMicron Technology - 8-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free
  • $2.85 - AC Adapter - 5V, 1.8A, w/ 6ft Cord, w/ Plastic Bag & White Paper Label
  • $2.80 - Enclosure, Main, Top Frame - Die-Cast Magnesium Alloy, Painted
  • $2.75 - Texas Instruments - TWL6030BCMR - Power Management IC
  • $2.75 - ST Microelectronics - XTV0987 - Image Processor - 8MP
  • $2.17 - Cypress Semiconductor - CY8CTMA301E-48LQ - Touchscreen Controller - Capacitive Multi-touch, Up to 10 Points
  • $1.85 - Invensense - MPU-3050 - Gyroscope - 3-Axis, Digital Output, w/ Digital Motion Processor, I2C Interface
  • $1.55 - Intersil - ISL9519HRTZ - Regulator/Charger - VDC, w/ SMBus Interface
  • $1.10 - Wolfson Microelectronics - WM8994ECS/R - Audio Codec - Multi-Channel, w/ 24-Bit 4-Channel DAC & 2-Channel ADC

Direct Materials $263.78
Direct Materials + Manufacturing$270.95

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.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Main PCB TopRIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Main PCB Top
Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

It is our understanding that Jabil is the primary EMS provider for RIM.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

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

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 capacitive touchscreen module), 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.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Main PCB BottomRIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Main PCB Bottom
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The RIM Blackberry Playbook has an overall component count of 914 (excluding box contents), of which 751 components reside on the Main PCB. In comparison, the second generation Apple iPad has an overall component count of approximately 1000 parts.

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 Taiwan.

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.

RIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Box ContentsRIM Blackberry Playbook Tablet - Box Contents

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