Overview / Features
The Violet Nabaztag/tag wireless rabbit is virtually a wireless messenger that connects to the internet using its 802.11b/g interface. The rabbit receives information from the web and communicates to users via its built-in LEDs lights and speech synthesizer.
There is nothing unique about the technology that goes into Nabaztag/tag, but it's the look, feel and associated marketing of the device that makes it unique. It is novel in that respect and will likely have broad appeal, the way Apple products do, with consumers who do not see themselves as "techies, or who are looking for an alternative aesthetic to computers and peripherals with an angle on style and the 'fun' factor (in this case). It is likely to be most appealing to the youth market - although I can't imagine most teens wanting their private chat and e-mails read aloud!
The rabbit has a cute look and especially when it has its lights on and ears moving. It can be setup to read out news, traffic report…etc, virtually any information from the web (including SMS, music clips) in different voices or to indicate specific alerts by its ""light language"
Adding to all basic features, the rabbit also has its own personality. It has programming to give it 'character' - translating into occasional, and unpredictable random movements and speech.
The idea is to have the consumer see it as a 'virtual' pet in some respects.
$189 USD per Violet's Nabaztag online store.
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 300,000 units, based on an estimated production run rate of about 200K / year and a product lifetime (for this model, at least) of approximately 1.5 years.
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.
WLAN Mini PCI Card Module Value Line Item - 802.11b/g, Contains Railink RT2501 Chipset
ML67Q4051TC - Microcontroller - 128KB, 32-Bit ARM Based, General Purpose
AC Power Adapter - Input 100-240V ~ 50-60Hz 200mA, Output 8.0VDC 900mA
ML60842 - USB Host + Device Controller
Gear Assemblies (Qty: 2)
K6X8016T3B-UF55 - SRAM - CMOS, 8Mb (512K x 16 Bit), 55ns
LEDs - Tri-Element, Red/Blue/Amber, High Intensity (Qty: 5)
VS1003B - CODEC - Audio, MP3/WMA
Enclosure, Main, Top - White Injection Molded Plastic, Clear Coated, Silkscreened
CR14-MQx/xxx - Contactless Coupler - ISO14443 Type-B, w/ Anti-Collision and CRC Management
Enclosure, Main, Bottom - White Injection Molded Plastic, Clear Coated, Silkscreened
Ear Housing - White Injection Molded Plastic (Qty: 2)
Loudspeaker - 50mm Dia, 4-Ohm, 2W, w/ Integral 2 Discrete Speaker Wire & 2.54mm Pitch Socket
PCB - 2-Layer - FR4
Motor (Qty: 2)
Inner Mount Front - Injection Molded Plastic
Total BOM Costs (w/Manufacturing) $49.11
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 and 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.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
The product is made in China based on the markings on the box. However, the WLAN card is marked made in Taiwan and is sourced, generally, as most 802.11 cards are, as a whole module.
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 the WLAN card), 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.
The issue of labor rates was revisited in Q2 2006 as we began to apply some research by one the major worldwide EMS suppliers and are now applying some of their research on total loaded costs by country and region to arrive at these new rates which are pronouncedly higher on the low end in China. Remember 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.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
The Violet Nabaztag/tag is a one of its kind product and thus very difficult to find other comparison points in terms of design complexity. However, when look at the main PCB, the components are not very densely populated and also because most of the functions are performed by the WLAN card and the Microcontroller, we would assume that electronically the device is pretty much well integrated. Mechanically speaking, its rotating ears add a bit complexity to the overall design. Other than that, with a mechanical component count of 79, it does seem that the device is pretty simple mechanically also.
We typically look at the overall component count to help make comparisons of relative complexity - and again, with a total component count (not accounting for the WLAN module subcomponents individually) of 344 components, this is not a very manufacturing intensive product.
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.
The design of the Nabaztag/tag is relatively simple as it basically gets information from the web and express the information either by movements or speech. The core IC that does all control and power management tasks is the Oki Semiconductor ML6Q4051TC. It may be noteworthy that we have rarely seen Oki's ICs (most of them being sound generators if we have seen one) in our past teardowns.
Along with the core Oki IC, the rabbit features a WLAN mini PCIe card with Railnk's chipset supporting IEEE802.11b/g. To receive or transmit voice data, there is a codec IC from VLSI Solution which provides all the required decoding and encoding.
Here is a summary of the major components used in the Violet Nabaztag/tag design:
Main PCB - Main Components
- Microcontroller - Oki Semiconductor - ML67Q4051TC - 128KB, 32-Bit ARM Based
- Samsung - K6X8016T3B-UF55 - SRAM - CMOS, 8Mb (512K x 16 Bit), 55ns
- Oki Semiconductor - ML60842 - USB Host + Device Controller
- VLSI Solution - VS1003B - CODEC - Audio, MP3/WMA
RFID Contactless PCB - Main Components
- ST Microelectronics - CR14-MQx/xxx - Contactless Coupler - ISO14443 Type-B, w/ Anti-Collision and CRC Management
WLAN Assemblies - IEEE802.11b/g Mini PCIe Card
Contains Railink RT2501 Chipset (first time this manufacturer seen in teardowns)