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Samsung's new Series 5 Chromebook has a $332.12 bill of materials (BOM), including the 12.1 inch display, a dual-core atom processor, and 2 GB of memory, according to a teardown analysis by researcher IHS iSuppli.
With a $12.20 manufacturing cost, the total cost to produce the new computer rises to $344.32. The BOM analysis covers hardware costs, but not manufacturing software, licensing, or royalties.
The motherboard is the most expensive subsystem of the Chromebook costing $86.37, or 26 percent of the device's total BOM. The major cost driver for the motherboard is the main memory supplied by Samsung Semiconductor, consisting of 2 GB of Double Data Rate 3 (DDR) SDRAM, according to IHS iSuppli.
The motherboard also uses a dual-core Atom N570 processor from Intel and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for computing security from Infineon Technologies.
The Chromebook is equipped a 12.1-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with light-emitting diode (LED) backlight technology. Made by Samsung, the display has a pixel format of 1280 by 800 pixels and a 16 by 10 aspect ratio. At $58.00, the display is the second most expensive subsystem after the motherboard, accounting for 17.5 percent of the total BOM, reported IHS iSuppli.
The computer is powered with 6-prismatic cell battery pack—a component that takes up nearly two-thirds of the total volume of the Chromebook. The 7.4-volt lithium-ion polymer battery is sourced from Samsung SDI and has a cost of $48.20, or 14.5 percent of the overall BOM. The computer also has a 3G wireless wide area network (WWAN) module from Hon Hai Precision Technology of Taiwan, consisting of a quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM, a quad-band HSPA/UTMS and a dual-band CDMA.
The 3G WWAN module cost is $42.85, or 12.9 percent of the total BOM, according to IHS iSuppli.
The Chromebook uses Google's Chrome operating system and is designed to move computer users away from standalone computers to cloud computing, where data and software are stored in networks rather than on a user's computer.
The Chromebook boots up within eight seconds, connects effortlessly to the web via Wi-Fi or 3G, and stores all its data in the cloud, according to Samsung.