The BlackBerry Z10 Spills Its Guts

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Even though the device has yet to make it stateside, the BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) Z10 has now spilled its guts. UBM TechInsights got their hands on a model and took it apart to get a peek inside. What component suppliers will get a boost if the device succeeds?

Qualcomm won
On the inside, the Z10 has some striking similarities to Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III and shares numerous components with the popular Google Android device. Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) emerged as a key winner, scoring numerous important design wins in the device. The Z10's processor was rumored to be a Qualcomm Snapdragon, but BlackBerry opted not to officially confirm which chip it was using.

Source: UBM TechInsights.

A Snapdragon S4 chip was found inside, specifically the MSM8960 featuring an integrated baseband modem that was found in numerous high-end Android devices last year. The newer Snapdragon 600 and 800 series processors were unveiled just weeks before the Z10 was. These faster chips are currently sampling and devices sporting these chips aren't expected until mid-2013, necessitating a slightly older yet very capable applications processor in the Z10 due to timing.

Qualcomm also won the audio codec, power management integrated circuit, and multimode RF transceiver. This is the same transceiver that's found in the Galaxy S III as well as Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPhone 5 and fourth-generation cellular iPad.

Bye, TI
The predominance of Qualcomm ingredients is a notable shift from previous generations of BlackBerry hardware, which frequently included a large number of components from Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN  ) . For example, a TI OMAP 4430 processor powers the BlackBerry PlayBook. In the Z10, TI's only notable win is the Wi-Fi combo chip. The shift away from TI comes as no surprise, as the chip maker has already publicly exited the mobile chip sector amid intense competition and the broader trend toward increased integration within OEMs.

Other component vendors include Samsung for both the 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of NAND flash storage, Avago Technologies for a pair of power amplifier modules, and Synaptics for the capacitive touchscreen microcontroller, among others.

In many ways, the Z10's hardware resembles the Galaxy S III on the inside and the iPhone 5 on the outside, since the device takes clear external design cues from Cupertino.

How low can you go?
UBM TechInsights pegs an initial estimate of the total bill of materials, or BOM, at $154. The Z10 is expected to carry an unsubsidized retail price point of $600, implying a hardware gross margin of 74% before incorporating costs related to software development, licensing, marketing, and distribution.

However, BOM estimates are tough to rely on, as UBM TechInsights pegs the iPhone 5 BOM at $139, which is much lower than the $207 estimate from iSuppli last September. With the iPhone 5, the biggest discrepancy was the display and touchscreen assembly. UBM thinks Apple pays only $21.50 for it, while iSuppli estimates that part at $44.

It seems possible that UBM's component estimates are a little low for both Apple and BlackBerry.

Is it enough?
From hardware perspective, the Z10 is competitive with current flagship devices that launched in 2012. The Z10 is looking to compete with high-end devices head on, and Verizon Wireless is currently the only domestic carrier to announce pricing ($200 on contract).

Having solid hardware is just the first requisite though, and the Z10's success or failure will ultimately lie within the operating system platform. BlackBerry 10 will need to sway consumers with its interface and content ecosystem for the Z10 to succeed and bring the company back from the brink. The content front is primarily where BlackBerry has some catching up to do, but at least the company knows this and is focusing its efforts there.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (10)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2013, at 6:49 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    This is nothing short of an amazing machine, the Z10 is the best phone experience out there today. Did you know that if you wanted the best OS experience in the world today, you need to buy a Z10.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2013, at 6:51 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    InfoThatSucks - should be along shortly to throw up his venum, he is so afraid of BlackBerry, it's funny!!

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2013, at 7:15 PM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    BlackBerry Z10 is the best phone on the market for business and personal.

    1- Samsung is shaking and creating rumors on enterprise plan.

    2- Apple is looking beyond the iphone5

    3- HTC rushed to released "ONE" to compete with the Z10.

    Looks like BlackBerry surprised everyone with their new Z10 phone. No wonder why the US carriers are ....."still testing". I expect them to finish their testing in 2016. What a joke.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 12:17 AM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    My brother is an Apple fan. He has iphone 5, his wife has the 4s. His kids have ipads. He has not been happy with his iphone5. he thought his old 4s was better than the 5. I showed him my BlackBerry Z10, and he was very impressed. He took pictures for his kids and was able to edit the faces. He played his Angry Birds and liked it better than his iphone. He checked the hub, the clock, the peak, the internet speed, the quality of the pictures, etc....

    He will dump his and his wife's iphones for the BlackBerry Z10 once the phone is available in the US. Unfortunately, he has to wait until the carriers are done with their "testing". What a silly joke.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 12:36 AM, spwangsu wrote:

    First I do not question how much trust I can have on you regarding the numbers. But I believe one thing you were wrong is the comparison you made with Google's Eric and RIM's former Co-CEO. That is like comparing orange with apple. Eric is still the chairman of Google. RIM's former CEO has nothing to do with RIM anymore and he probably knows little about the company. If not because he had over 5% ownership, he might not be need to disclose his transactions at all. So fool you are!

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 6:29 AM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    HTC ONE has not been tested by the US carriers. You need to wait 6 months before you can buy it. Unless garbage made in Taiwan do not require testing by US carriers because they run on the Jelly Bean.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 10:51 AM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    A phone made in taiwan all the sudden becomes an instant success, no need for 6 MONTH CARRIER TESTING JOKE, simply because it uses "jelly bean".

    Wow...How desperate some of these droid cheerleaders are?

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