Bloomberg News

RIM’s BlackBerry Torch Parts Cost $171, ISuppli Says

August 16, 2010

Components in the BlackBerry Torch, Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)’s newest smartphone, cost $171.05 according to an analysis by market research firm ISuppli Corp.

Materials used in the Torch were supplied by companies including Synaptics Inc. (SYNA:US), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL:US) and Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN:US), according to a teardown of the device by El Segundo, California-based ISuppli. The most expensive part is the touch-sensitive display, which cost $34.85, ISuppli said,

RIM, which has lost market share to Apple Inc.’s iPhone, combined the traditional BlackBerry keyboard with the touch screens found on its Storm and Storm 2 smartphones. Andrew Rassweiler, an ISuppli analyst who supervised the teardown, said internally, the Torch is similar to recent BlackBerry devices.

The primary applications chip in the Torch cost $15 and comes from Marvell, a Bermuda-based company run from Santa Clara, California, according to ISuppli. RIM has used a similar Marvell chip in its BlackBerry Bold 9700, Rassweiler said.

A spokeswoman for Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, Marisa Conway, declined to discuss the findings. Gina DeBoutez, a spokeswoman for Marvell, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. The Torch is sold by AT&T Inc. for $199 on a two-year carrier-subsidized contract, and $499 without a contract.

ISuppli conducts so-called teardown analyses of electronics to determine the identity of parts suppliers and estimate the costs to make the products. Investors can use the information to estimate profit on the device.

Touch Interface

Synaptics, a chipmaker also based in Santa Clara that specializes in touch interface technology, supplied the controller chip used in the display, Rassweiler said. This is usually an indication that Synaptics supplied RIM with a pre- assembled display sold as stand-alone product, he said.

“We’ve seen Synaptics do this before with the Storm 2 and in Google’s Nexus One,” Rassweiler said. The same controller chip was also in the Kin2, a phone briefly sold by Microsoft Corp. Greg Wood, a spokesman for Synaptics, declined to comment.

Texas Instruments supplied a $10.60 chip combining Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless networking with Global Positioning System functions for location. The Dallas-based company also sold RIM a power management chip costing $4.90, as well as an audio chip, according to ISuppli. Kimberly Morgan, a spokeswoman for Texas Instruments, wouldn’t comment.

STMicroelectronics NV (STM), based in Geneva, supplied a chip for processing video and images, ISuppli said. Kristine Rizzo, a spokeswoman for STMicroelectronics, declined to comment.

Analog Devices Inc. (ADI:US) of Norwood, Massachusetts, supplied an accelerometer chip, which detects the direction the phone is moving. Sue Martenson, a spokeswoman for Analog Devices, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

RIM has dropped (RIMM:US) 25 percent this year in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. It fell $2.57 today, or 4.8 percent, to $50.83.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arik Hesseldahl in New York at ahesseldal@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • SYNA
    (Synaptics Inc)
    • $83.84 USD
    • 1.54
    • 1.84%
  • MRVL
    (Marvell Technology Group Ltd)
    • $14.16 USD
    • -0.04
    • -0.25%
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