On the outside, Motorola Inc.’s XOOM represents the first legitimate match for Apple Inc.’s iPad 3G. On the inside, it’s a pretty good match as well, with the XOOM’s materials cost closely approximating that of a comparably equipped iPad, as revealed by a physical dissection conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis service.
The Motorola XOOM carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $359.92, based on current pricing, compared to approximately $320 for a 3G iPad with 32GB of NAND flash memory, based on pricing from April 2010.
“With its features and functionality, the XOOM is clearly designed to go head-to-head against the iPad 3G,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS. “In pursuing that design philosophy, Motorola has closely lined up the XOOM’s component costs with that of the iPad’s, especially where it counts: in the touch screen, the display and the cellular radio. Of all the ‘iPad killers’ analyzed by the IHS iSuppli teardown team, the XOOM best approximates the cost/performance standard set by Apple.”
Make Room for XOOM
The XOOM resembles the mid-range iPad with its capacitive touch screen, 10.1-inch display, high-capacity battery and 32GB memory density. However, the XOOM zooms ahead of the original iPad with features like its fast dual-core apps processor and the addition of both front- and rear-facing cameras.
“The XOOM earns its status as a true iPad competitor by virtue of the fact that it equals many of the iPad’s best features—while also making up for some the iPad’s shortcomings, such as the lack of a camera—at least until Apple begins shipping its second-generation product line,” Lam noted.
Just as in the iPad, the display and touch screen assembly represents the most expensive subsystem within the XOOM. The XOOM’s display and touch screen section costs $140, or 38.9 percent of the total BOM cost. In comparison the iPad’s 9.7-inch display/touch screen assembly carries a cost of $125, based on pricing from our analysis last year.
The XOOM’s thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) supports 262,000 colors and has a denser pixel format than the iPad at 1,280 by 800. The iPad’s TFT-advanced fringe field switching (AFFS) display also has 262K colors and a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels. However, the iPad display employs in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which allows for a wider viewing angle and better picture quality in terms of color presentation than a conventional LCD.
The XOOM touch screen module features the Atmel mXT1386 touch screen controller, a new 32-bit device capable of registering up to 16 discrete touch points. The Atmel controller is implemented in a four-discrete-chip solution. This multi-chip solution for touch screen controls represents an arguably more expensive design than the custom Texas Instruments Inc./Broadcom Corp. touch screen solution employed in the original iPad.
Also mirroring the iPad 3G in terms of cost, the memory is next most expensive subsystem of the XOOM. The grand total cost for the Motorola XOOM’s memory components is $80.40, or 22.3 percent of the total BOM. This compares to $67.80 for the equivalent 32GB model of the iPad. The additional cost of the XOOM’s memory is accounted for by the two Elpida mobile double data rate (DDR) 2 synchronous dynamic random access memories (DRAM). These 4-gigabit-density parts support the XOOM’s high-speed dual-core microprocessor, giving the tablet a total of 1GB of SDRAM to run Android 3.0’s more advanced features, such as the multitasking of applications.
The memory subsystem also includes the 32GB NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., which accounts for the bulk of the cost of this section.
Double the Processor=Double the Cost
One of the most dramatic cost differentials between the XOOM and iPad is in the apps processor. The XOOM processor and associated components costs an estimated $20.78, or 5.8 percent of the BOM. This is almost twice the cost of the iPad 3G’s A4 processor at slightly less than $11.
The XOOM employs a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 apps processor, compared to the single-core A4. This more advanced part boosts both the performance—and the cost—for the XOOM.
The XOOM’s two cameras also represent a major cost disparity between the XOOM and iPad. The 5-megapixel camera on the back and the 2-megapixel device on the front carry a collective cost of $14, or 3.9 percent of the BOM. In contrast, the original iPad 3G has no cameras.
Other subsystem cost comparisons between the XOOM and iPad 3G include:
- The baseband/radio frequency/power amplifier section, which includes the Qualcomm MDM6600, at $14.65 in the XOOM and $19.35 in the iPad.
- The power management section, at $11.26 in the XOOM, and $10.57 in the iPad.
- The user interface functions, at $9.12 in the XOOM, and $14.39 in the iPad.
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