Mobile Devices

Motorola PEBL Mobile Phone Teardown

13 April 2006
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Main Features - Motorola PEBL

Quad-Band GSM, GPRS (Class 10), VGA camera phone with Bluetooth (Mot webpage shows Bluetooth version 2.0 - whereas this model analyzed shows a 1.1/1.2 version modular solution from Broadcom) and a primary focus, again on aesthetics, as was the case with the RAZR. Other than aesthetics it's a basic camera / flip phone with no particular standout features. The PEBL is built with the same core digital baseband chip, memory and Bluetooth solution.

Motorola PEBL Mobile Phone Main ImageMotorola PEBL Mobile Phone Main Image


As Motorola seeks to find other hot successors to the RAZR, we find other vowel-challenged phones such as the PEBL and SLVR coming out in rapid succession. All of these phones share a similar aesthetic, and it's the aesthetics again that are key to the success of these phones. Which otherwise, probably share a great deal of basic functional commonality as well as certain internal design elements such as same memory, very similar baseband chips, and Bluetooth solutions.

Target Market

Motorola discovered, with the RAZR, that American's demand for stylish phones had been, perhaps, underestimated. And as a result of that success are focusing on phones that capitalize on this demand. In fact, what was probably released initially as a niche phone became such a part of the mainstream, that these follow up phones, too, will be generally accepted, high volume phones offered by most of the major service providers. These are mainstream phones focused at the bulk of consumer users.


Received FCC approval in Sep, 2005, and was announced by Motorola as being available in the "second half of 2005, per Motorola press release, however various other sources in the press indicate that it was finally release in mid Q4, 2005. The PEBL was later distributed through T-Mobile as of February 2006. Multiple 'color' covered versions released in March 2006.

Pricing and Availability

Subsidized T-Mobile = $299 USD currently in US. Multiple sources selling for less, depending on seller.

Volume Estimations

It's difficult to estimate the success just yet of the PEBL which is still eclipsed by the RAZR but we are estimating that Motorola will produce approximately 10 million units over a two-year product lifespan, which we generally use as our standard product lifetime for handsets.

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

Motorola still have a strong market share position in handsets, which was improved, of course, by the massive success of the RAZR. ISuppli estimates that in 2005, Motorola shipped approximately 146 million handsets, representing 18% of the total 813 million total handset shipments in 2005. In fact we estimate that Motorola's market share in units improved steadily over the course of 2005 finish up at about 19% in Q4 of 2005 (45 million units in Q4, 05). The PEBL is expected to also be a strong shipping performer. See ""volume estimations" above for more information on our volume assumptions.

Function / Performance

No specific performance testing was performed on the Motorola PEBL.

Motorola PEBL Mobile Phone Cost AnalysisMotorola PEBL Mobile Phone Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers Representing approximately 72% of total materials costs

Combined Samsung Primary / Secondary Display Modules w/ATI IMAGEON2251

Intel - RD38F4050L0YBQ0 - MCP - Flash 256Mb, PSRAM 64Mb

Freescale - SC29332VKD - DBB - Digital Baseband Processor

Camera Module - VGA, Fixed Lens CMOS

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

Freescale - MC13890 ABB - Analog Baseband / Power Management

RF Micro Devices - RF6025 - RF Transceiver - Quad-Band, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, w/ Integrated SAW Filters

Broadcom - BCM2035KWB - Bluetooth Baseband - Single Chip HCI Solution

Motorola - SNN5696B - Battery - Li-ion - 3.6V, 710mAh

~Subtotal of Main Cost Drivers

~Total Materials Costs

~Materials and Manufacturing**

* - It should be noted that only the phone was provided in this analysis. When compared with some other phone teardowns this is an important consideration as each phone may be submitted to us with varying levels of 'extras'. The battery was also not included in this analysis, and as it is apparently the same model as that used in the RAZR, we were asked to include a battery line making the same parametric assumptions as the RAZR battery. We have included a lineitem for the battery pack and battery cell, as we found them in the RAZR analysis.

** - 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 itself unless otherwise noted.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS provider

The model we received had no markings, packaging or labels noting the country of origin, so we have assumed, as has been the case with most Motorola handsets, that this model was manufactured completely in China.

Design for Manufacturing / Overall Complexity

Mechanical Design

The PEBL is, mechanically speaking, a relatively complex phone. It has 149 mechanical components. In purely quantitative terms the mechanical component count at 149 places the PEBL a handful of components higher than the RAZR (139). But furthermore it has a lot of qualitatively complex and fine mechanical components that complicate and lengthen the manufacturing process, which we have accounted for in our component unit assembly / integration cycle times in our BOM analysis. The RAZR had a lot of uncommon materials and processes (lots of die-cast magnesium, and a very unusual etched nickel keypad cover which was one of the more notable aesthetic features of the RAZR) which added to the cost, and the PEBL has it's share of fairly uncommon materials. Interestingly, the keypad look and feel have been emulated here in the PEBL but do not feature the odd etched nickel cover, and have achieved it with plastics this time - surely more cost-effective.

But the PEBL also has a few noteworthy mechanical items - first of all it has 7 magnets. The normal clamshell design would feature a single magnet and hall-effect switch to determine 'open' and 'closed' operation. But the PEBL has an unusual clamshell design. When closed, the PEBL is held shut against it's own spring detent mechanism by 6 of these magnets. But to make the PEBL design a little 'cooler', Motorola went to the trouble of making the opening a little more unusual - to open the PEBL you first must 'slide' the top half down a fraction of an inch. Once the top portion slides down the magnets no longer hold the clamshell shut and the phone springs open. This sliding action further complicates the design vis--vis other clamshell models.

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.

Electronic Design Complexity

The total component count of the PEBL at 570 components is inline but towards the high-end with respect to other clamshell designs, and even slightly less than the RAZR at 579. There's little exceptional about the level of electronic integration - however as is more and more the case, this Motorola design uses a transmit module solution for the power amplifier and antenna switch, as well as a very integrated RF transceiver solution from RFMD with integrated VCOs, loop filters, SAW filters, and other components, helping to reduce the overall component count.

Design Notes

Motorola designs, just like Nokia, SonyEricsson and other manufacturers clearly all try to leverage design re-use and the electronic design of the Motorola PEBL shows a great deal of similarity and commonality with other Motorola phones, including the recently analyzed RAZR and public knowledge of the SLVR design. In fact, this design really shares a lot in common with both the RAZR and PEBL.

First of all, the Freescale two chip solution baseband DBB/ABB combination (SC29332V**, based on DSP56621 baseband processor, and MC13890) are the same as those in the SLVR and similar to the RAZR. The memory configuration is identical to the RAZR and many other Motorola and non-Motorola phones employing an Intel MCP with 256Mb of NOR flash and 64Mb of Pseudo SRAM, offering fairly 'middle of the road' overall memory content for this phone.

The Imageon 2251 graphics driver is the same as that featured in the RAZR (which we had not previously identified) - and is also a direct die on flex implementation found on the display module flex circuitry. The Bluetooth solution featuring a BCM2035 single chip solution mounted on module is similar to identical again to the RAZR (featuring a branded Murata solution) and apparently the same as the SLVR. The Broadcom chip is version 1.1/1.2 compliant, however Motorola marketing materials suggest that a new solution has been implemented featuring Bluetooth 2.0 EDR.

The primary display used in the PEBL is a 1.9" 176 x 220 pixel 262K TFT - is the same format as that found in the SLVR, ROKR, and probably others


  • DBB - Digital Baseband Processor - Freescale - SC29332VKD
  • ABB - Analog Baseband / Power Management - Freescale - MC13890


  • MCP - Intel - RD38F4050L0YBQ0 - Flash 256Mb, PSRAM 64Mb

RF/Power Amplifier

  • RF Micro Devices - RF3178 - Transmit Module
  • RF Transceiver - Quad-Band, GSM/GPRS/EDGE w/Integrated SAW Filters - RF Micro Devices - RF6025
  • Part of two-chip solution from RFMD called Polaris 2 TOTAL RADIO solution. Apparently also applied in SLVR design.

User Interface

  • Bluetooth - Broadcom - BCM2035KWB single chip solution
  • Graphics Driver - ATI - Imageon 2251 - (previously unidentified in RAZR)

Camera Module

  • VGA/CMOS Fixed Lens - Supplier Unknown


  • 1.9" 176x220 262K Color TFT primary - Samsung
  • 1" 96x32 Monochrome Secondary - Samsung
  • Apparently same primary display format as SLVR and ROKR.


Motorola PEBL Mobile Phone - Main PCB Bottom - Functional AreasMotorola PEBL Mobile Phone - Main PCB Bottom - Functional Areas

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