SAN JOSE, Calif. – Samsung's Galaxy Tab reuses much of the hardware found in the company's smartphones, according to a teardown by UBM TechInsights. The approach follows a path Apple and other cellphone makers have pioneered.
The news comes the same day Barnes & Noble announced an updated version of its Nook e-book reader. The new model is like a tablet in that it sports a color display, can access the Web and play music.
The Samsung tablet shares as many as eleven components in common with the Samsung Galaxy S cellphone. They include the Hummingbird processor (Samsung S5PC110) which uses the same ARM Cortex A8 core as Apple's A4 processor.
Other chips in both the Samsung tablet and smartphone include an Infineon RF Transceiver (PMB5703, now part of Intel), two duplexers and a switch from Triquint Semiconductor (the TQM6M9014, TQM626028L and TQM666022), Broadcom GPS and combo Bluetooth/FM/WLAN chips (BCM4751 and BCM4329), a Wolfson audio codec (WM8994) and a Maxim power management chip (MAX8998).
The systems also share a common stacked memory chip (the KB100D00YM) which packs 8 Gbytes of MLC NAND flash, 1 Gbyte of DRAM and 3 Gbytes of Mobile DDR memory.
An earlier teardown showed the Apple iPad also shares many key components with its latest iPhones.
"People see the Tab and iPad as quite different products from phones when in fact they use very similar hardware," said David Carey, vice president of technical intelligence at UBM TechInsights. "The user experience can be radically different, but the core hardware for the Tab comes pretty much straight from a high-end Samsung phone," Carey said.
"If I were to speculate, I would hazard a guess that RIM will follow a similar path with the upcoming PlayBook," Carey said. The HP Slate may "break the mold since its design comes much more from the PC side of things,” he added.
UBM TechInsights estimated the bill of materials for the Galaxy Tab at $215. That leaves plenty of room for profits given the tablet will sell for $499 through Verizon, said Allan Yogasingam, a technical marketing manager with UBM TechInsights who conducted the teardown.
Borrowing cellphone electronics for tablets is an extension of existing practices. Within the handset area, RIM, Nokia, and Motorola among others have used common hardware platforms "to good effect" across multiple cellphone product types or tiers, said Carey.
The major difference between the Samsung products is the tablet uses a 7-inch super TFT display compared to the much smaller but higher-end active-matrix organic LED display on the smartphone. Tablet-sized AMOLED screens are still prohibitively expensive, Yogasingam said.
The Galaxy Tab's display uses the Atmel MXT224 touchscreen controller.
UBM TechInsights is part of United Business Media, the publisher of EE Times.