Torch 9800 Blackberry only costs $171.05 to make

Research in Motion’s (RIM) new Torch 9800 smart phone carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) of $171.05, according to iSuppli.

The research company performed a dissection and cost model to look into the device a little bit further. It said on the outside, the Torch delivered a rich feature set, with three User Interfaces (UIs): a capacitive touch screen, an optical track pad and the first slider QWERTY keyboard found in a BlackBerry.

It said that on the inside, the Torch’s electronic design “heavily leverages subsystems used in previous members of the BlackBerry smart phone line”, specifically the Storm2 and the Bold 9700.

“With this evolutionary approach, RIM has delivered a smart phone with an enhanced feature set that largely matches those of the BlackBerry’s chief competitors: the iPhone and the Android-based handsets,” it said.

The company also said that along with the QWERTY slider keyboard, the Torch had a number of other firsts in the BlackBerry line. This, it said,  included the newly rewritten BlackBerry OS 6, as well as social feeds, universal search and a faster WebKit-based browser.

However, the device isn’t as brand spanking new as RIM would have us believe with iSuppli claiming that the Radio Frequency (RF), power amplifier and power management subsystems are similar or virtually identical to those of a previous member of the BlackBerry line, the Bold 9700. In terms of specs and size, the Torch’s display is very similar to that of the BlackBerry Storm2 9550. It added that the Torch also had the same Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer by Analog Devices Inc. used in the Storm2 9550.

And it also seems that RIM has taken a few bits from other manufacturers with iSuppli identifying that the Torch also bears some similarity to smartphones from other brands. It said mechanically, it is comparable in complexity and cost to HTC Tilt 2. It also integrates Texas Instruments Inc.’s WL1271x WLAN/BlueTooth IC, which can be found in products including Motorola Inc.’s Droid X and Microsoft Corp.’s Kin 2.

However, the product seems to be a a profitable device with the company with iSuppli claiming that when adding in an estimated manufacturing cost of $12, the Torch’s combined production and BOM cost amounts to $183.05.

The most expensive subsystem in the Torch is the LCD and touch screen display module section, at a price of $34.85, representing 20.4 percent of the product’s BOM, according to iSuppli’s semiconductor costing estimate. The display is a 3.2-inch diagonal TFT LCD with a 480 by 360 pixel resolution. iSuppli said while it was not possible to identify from a teardown analysis the supplier of the display, it added that RIM in the past had employed displays from Samsung Mobile Display, Toshiba Mobile Display Co. Ltd. and Sharp.

Coming in at a close second in terms of cost is the memory subsystem, at $34.25, amounting to 20 percent of the Bill of Materials. In the individual Torch torn down by iSuppli, Samsung supplied a 4Gbyte eMMC NAND flash memory device, plus an 8Gbit NAND flash and 4Gbit Mobile Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM while SanDisk contributed a 4Gbyte removable Micro SD memory card.

iSuppli said the mechanical/electromechanical portions of the Torch, including the printed circuit boards and the enclosure plastics and metals, came in third at an estimated cost of $23.35, representing 13.7 percent of the Torch’s BOM.

Next on the cost ranking was the applications processor/baseband section at $15, or 8.8 percent of the BOM.

This section is dominated by the communications processor, which features an integrated baseband from Marvell Technology Group Ltd.

Coming in at fifth in terms of cost is the RF transceiver and power amplifier section, at $13.90, or 8.1 percent of the BOM cost. Infineon Technologies AG’s PMB5701 tri-band RF transceiver is featured in the section, along with Renesas Electronics Corp.’s R2A60177BG quad-band RF transceiver and its RPF59001B power amplifier module.

Other notable sections that iSuppli pointed out were the Bluetooth/WLAN/GPS area, with a price of $10.60 and 6.2 percent share of the Bill of Materials. Components in this subsystem include the Texas Instruments WL1271A single-chip Bluetooth/WLAN/FM transmitter/receiver and the CSR GSD4t-9800 GPS receiver.