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Mobile Devices

Sony Ericsson j230i Mobile Phone Teardown

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

Main Features

Basic, entry-level dual-band GSM/GPRS (non camera!) candybar phone with 1.6 inch diagonal 128x128 CSTN screen. This phone is one step above the group of entry-level phones for emerging markets analyzed by iSuppli not long ago, with a few relative upgrades: color screen, more memory, and an FM radio. No sophisticated multimedia features aside from polyphonic ringtones in this phone. Basic phone probably for youth market.

SonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - ExteriorSonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - Exterior


The J230i holds down the low-end of the color-screen GSM offering at SonyEricsson. As mentioned above this is a bare-bones GSM phone, which, in a world where ever more phones are camera phones, and often megapixel phones at that, the low-end seems to be vanishing, but will still flourish as more and more young consumers, as well as those in developing countries become subscribers for whom this phone represents a good starter phone.

SonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - ExteriorSonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - Exterior
Target Market

Mainstream low-end. Per SonyEricsson release: "…people that aspire to the Sony Ericsson brand can now afford to own one of our handsets…". J230(x) comes in 3 flavors: J230i (Europe and "rest of world'), J230a(850/1900MHz for Americas), J230c (for mainland China).


Novermber 15, 2005 - per Sony Ericsson press release.

Pricing / Availability

Available Q1 2006. Regional availability is reflected in the various variant sub-models. The j230a, for example is offered by Cingular in the US, whereas the J230c is a China-specific model

Volume Estimations

Given the popularity of the low-end segment, and SonyEricsson's relative market strength, and despite a general market transition to more feature-intensive phones, we expect this model to do relatively well with a lifetime production volume of 2 million units.

As a reminder, volume production assumptions are not meant to be necessarily "market accurate", and our meant primarily to be 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).

Market Sector / Performance

As noted above, despite the transition to more feature-rich phones, and phones that are more commonly tri and quad-band GSM, and therefore away from single and dual-band GSM phones, this segment still features a significant unit shipment volume. For all dual-band GSM/GPRS configurations combined, iSuppli estimates a 175 million unit shipment volume for this segment in 2006, decreasing to approximately 144 million units in 2007. In the broadest handset context, we expect all handset shipments for those same to years to be 850 million and 875 million units respectively - meaning that merely dual-band GSM/GPRS phones will represent about 21% of total market this year, falling to 16% in 2007. Furthermore, GPRS is, of course, on the wane, in favor of improved data transfer speed on other protocols such as EDGE.

Function / Performance

Functional testing was not performed on the J230i.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS Provider

Oddly this model was labeled as built in Taiwan. We rarely see this with SonyEricsson phones from memory, except in the case of an older model which we believed to be from an ODM design. This design, while unusual for SonyEricsson is not without design precedent - as it has commonality with some previously analyzed devices - so is still likely an "in house" design, EMS built. This model was labeled as a prototype, so it is also possible that for mass production it may be manufactured more likely in the PRC lowering the total manufacturing cost somewhat. It was assumed, nonetheless, that the plastics and other mechanicals, as well as the assembly of the PCBA took place in mainland China to minimize costs.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The SonyEricsson J230i has a low total component count of 455. When compared with the competing, devices in this group, however (the Motorola C168 and Nokia 6030 with nearly identical features and functionality), it actually has the highest component count by far (369 and 372 are the totals for those two phones). In fact, although we do not have a SonyEricsson model against which to make the comparison, these competing Motorola and Nokia phones are in line, in terms of component count, with the recently analyzed Monochrome screen entry level phones analyzed in Q4 2005.

SonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - InteriorSonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB and Main Enclosure Disassembled - Interior
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 also 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.

SonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top - Display and Keypad Contact Sheet RemovedSonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top - Display and Keypad Contact Sheet Removed
Design Notes

The design of the SonyEricsson j230i is based primarily on the Broadcom BCM2121 chip which performs the bulk of phone functionality. We have seen this BCM2121 chip in the Konka C958, Treo 600, and SonyEricsson Z200 phones in the past. In fact, except for the memoery chip, there is really nothing "original" or groundbreaking in terms of chips used, as we have seen virtually all of the components in one design or another. Beyond the Broadcom core chip, the design features a Philips PCF50603 (seen in many devices) ABB/Power Management chip, RF Micro Devices PAM, and Silison Labs RF Transceiver. The Oki Semi sound generator is rare in most phone designs (in favor of the far more popular Yamaha chips), but even that we have seen in two other phone designs including the closely competing Motorola C168 analyzed in parallel. This phone and the other competing designs all sport FM radios, this one the TEA5761UK from Philips (also seen in 3 other Nokia designs, including the competing Nokia 6030 analyzed in parallel with this device).

Chip or Component Summary by Functional Area or Assembly


  • DBB - Digital Baseband Processor - Broadcom - BCM2121KFBG

Battery / Power Management

  • Power Management - Philips Semiconductor - PCF50603HN


  • MCP - 64Mb Flash, 32Mb PSRAM, 3V, 130nm - Intel - RD38F2040W0ZTQ1


  • PAM - RF Micro Devices - RF3146
  • RF Transceiver - Silicon Laboratories - Si4210-GM

User Interface

  • PCM Sound Generator LSI - 40 Tones - Oki Semiconductor - ML2871
  • FM Radio - Philips Semiconductor - TEA5761UK


  • Display Module - 1.6" Diagonal, 128 x 128 Pixels, 65K Color STN

SonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Box ContentsSonyEricsson j230i Mobile Phone - Box Contents

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