Mobile Devices

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone Teardown

03 November 2008
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Overview / Main Features

The Motorola ROKR E8 is the latest iteration of the ROKR family of music handsets by Motorola. After moving away from the initial iTunes-compatible E1, Motorola has been working hard in recent years (in the shadow of the Apple iPhone) to differentiate the ROKR handset as a music phone contender in its own rite. As a flush and keyless monolithic handset, the ROKR E8 was designed to look and feel different than any phone or MP3 player. It features something Motorola calls "mode shifting user interface which changes the ordinary number keypad into a media player control. Also it has a unique piezo-electric actuated haptic keypad provides the needed tactile feel en lieu of buttons on the handset. Also a capacitive touch panel covering the center control d-pad (as well as the slightly larger than semi circle scroll arc) allows users to quickly navigate through the content on the device.

Surprisingly, Motorola designed this music phone with only a quad band GSM/EDGE radio. Prominently missing is UMTS/HSDPA network compatibility which would preclude any over-the-air music download. Rounding out the feature set, the ROKR E8 sports a 2MP camera, built in FM radio Bluetooth 2.0 and 2GB of internal memory and support for up to 4GB of external storage via microSD media. The ROKR is compatible with Windows Media Player and can handle Microsoft based DRM content.

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone Main ImageMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone Main Image

Target Market

Mainstream mobile phone consumers with an orientation towards music functionalities


Per press releases, first release in Q1 of 2008.

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Main PCB TopMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability
Pricing - An unlocked version of the ROKR E8 is available (at time of writing - Oct. 2008) through several online boutique mobile phone retailers for as low as $229. However, if the phone is sold through a network carrier in select global markets, the cost may be significantly reduced due to service provider subsidies.


- The Motorola ROKR E8 is available in select world markets such as Europe and Asia.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 3M 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 increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Main PCB BottomMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Main PCB Bottom

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

As part of iSuppli's Design Forecast Tool (DFT), we forecast handset shipments by major design feature and manufacture, as well as the number of design starts a manufacturer will have by feature set.

iSuppli estimates unit shipments of 323 million GSM/EDGE handsets in 2008 global market. We further estimate 320 million units of 3 megapixel camera phones to ship in the 2008 global market. All estimates are based on a 2 year product life span assumption with an overall global market share of 14% for Motorola.

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~80% of total material cost

Freescale - SC29364VK - DBB - Digital Baseband Processor

Touchscreen Overlay - 11-Wire Capacitive, 4-Layer Polycarbonate Sheet

Display Module Value Line Item - 2.0' Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 240 x 320 Pixels

Camera Module Value Line Item - 2.0MP, 1/4' Format, Fixed Lens

Toshiba Semiconductor - TY9000A000BLHF - MCP - 1Gb NAND Flash + 512Mb Mobile SDRAM

Freescale - SC13783VK5 - ABB - Analog Baseband / Power Management

Battery - Li-Ion, 3.7V, 930mAh

SanDisk - SDIN2C2-2G - Flash - iNAND, 16Gb, 2.7-3.6V

Freescale - MMM6000 - RF Transceiver - ZIF, Quad-Band, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, w/ Integrated LNAs & VCOs

Skyworks - SKY77512 - Transmit Module - PAM, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, w/ Integrated Antenna Switch

Cypress Semiconductor - CY7C68053 - Microcontroller - USB 2.0 Transceiver, Serial Interface

Texas Instruments - BRF6300C - Bluetooth - Single Chip Solution, V2.0+EDR, 90nm

2-Layer - Flex Kapton, w/ Stiffener

Multek Hong Kong - 8-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+4+2, Lead-Free

Enclosure, Main, Top - Injection Molded Polycarbonate, w/ Insert-Molded Stamped/Formed Metal Plate, w/ 4 Piezoelectric Elements, Black Painted

4-Layer - Flex Kapton, w/ Stiffener

FMP5340A - Charger - 5.0V, 500mA

Handsfree Accessory - Earphone/Microphone, Stereo, w/ Single Button Control

Interlink Electronics - Keypad Assembly - MicroNav Array Pressure Sensing, Mylar on Polycarbonate Sheet w/ Carbon Contact, w/ PSA

Box - Cardboard, Full Color, 236 x 160 x 63 (9.4' x 6.5' x 2.4')

Enclosure, Main, Battery Cover - Stamped / Formed Aluminum, Silkscreened, w/ Soft-Touch Finish & 2 Metal Inserts

Silicon Laboratories - Si4703 - FM Radio Tuner

Keypad Electroluminescent Backlight

Atmel - 225K01-6RO - Touch Controller

USB Cable

Display Module Mounting Bracket - Die-Cast Magnesium Alloy, ESD/EMI Coating

Supertex - HV529BD - Serial-to-Parellel Converter - 16-Channel

Antenna Mounting Frame/ Loudspeaker Housing - Injection Molded Polycarbonate, w/ Insert-Molded Stamped/Formed Metal Plate & 2 Threaded Inserts

Hirose - Antenna Cable - Coaxial, w/ Push On Lock Coax Connector, for Internal Antenna

Material and Manufacturing $87.62

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone Cost AnalysisMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone Cost Analysis

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

According to iSuppli's ""Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Mobile Handsets Q1 2008", Motorola has a rather mixed manufacturing profile. It is estimated that Motorola produces 52% of their handsets in-house while outsourcing the remainder 48%. The majority of Motorola's A, O and Z series are produced internally while the RAZR, KRZR, SLVR lines are manufactured using EMS providers. Among their manufacturing partners, Motorola splits the work amongst Compal, Foxconn and Chi Mei.

Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Enclosure DisassemblyMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Enclosure Disassembly

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on EMS provider relationships, the Motorola unit was likely assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also 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 display 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 pin-count of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Motorola ROKR E8 has an overall component count of 568 components (excluding box contents), of which, 160 are mechanical in nature. This figure is slightly below the average of the competitive set of music phone in which the Motorola has been analyzed against. Typically, candybar handsets tend to have lower complexity than the flip or slider variants since these monolithic blocks have more accommodating internal volumes for conventional PCBs and feature minimal of moving mechanical 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 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

Unsurprisingly, the Motorola ROKR E8 is designed with a majority Freescale solution (DBB, ABB and RF Transceiver). For the Power Amplifier design, Motorola relied on Skyworks for the ROKR E8. Within the user interface functional area, Motorola employs both Cypress and Atmel microcontrollers.

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Motorola ROKR E8 design:

Main PCB

Digital Baseband

  • DBB Processor - Freescale - SC29364VK

Analog Baseband / Power Management

  • ABB - Freescale - SC13783VK5


  • Flash - SanDisk - SDIN2C2-2G
  • MCP - Toshiba Semiconductor - TY9000A000BLHF

RF Transceivers

  • RF Transceiver - Freescale - MMM6000

User Interface

  • Bluetooth - Texas Instruments - BRF6300C
  • Microcontroller - Cypress Semiconductor - CY7C68053
  • Touch Controller - Atmel - 225K01-6RO
  • Serial-to-Parellel Converter - Supertex - HV529BD


  • Transmit Module - Skyworks - SKY77512


  • 2.0MP, 1/4' Format, Fixed Lens


  • 2.0' Diagonal, 262K Color TFT, 240 x 320 Pixels


Motorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Box ContentsMotorola ROKR E8 Mobile Phone - Box Contents

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