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7/6/2011
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HP TouchPad Costs $328 To Manufacture

The TouchPad's display/touch screen accounts for more than one-third of the tablet's total cost. Here's what else teardowns reveal.

HP TouchPad: A Visual Tour
HP TouchPad: A Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and forslideshow)
Touch panels continue to be the most expensive component of tablet computers, as evidenced by a recent teardown of the HP TouchPad. The LCD itself, which is 9.7 inches across the diagonal and has 1024 x 768 pixels, costs $69. The capacitive touch component it is mated with costs another $63, making the display and touch panel together cost a total of $132. That's more than one-third of the TouchPad's total cost to manufacture.

Amazingly, it is the memory component that rates the second-highest cost in the TouchPad, according to iSuppli. It is pegged at $45 for the 32-GB version and $23 for the 16-GB version.

Next in cost is the entire chassis, including the glass, metals, plastics, PCBs, connectors, etc. These combined cost about $30.

TechInsights reports, "Deconstructing the TouchPad in our teardown revealed a rather tightly packed device, starting with the display and touchscreen being connected to the glass of the tablet. Samsung provides the LCD module. The rear cover of the TouchPad reveals the bulk of the electronic components as well as the resting place of the speakers, headphone jack, connectors, the SD card assembly, the Wi-Fi antennae and of course the battery pack. A closer look inside the TouchPad reveals three circuit boards. The main board houses the primary components of the TouchPad, namely the processor and tablet memory, while two smaller boards exist to control the I/O of the tablet and the touchscreen."

The DRAM unit follows at a cost of $26. It is made by Samsung. The Qualcomm processor runs $20 per Touchpad. The battery, which is a 6000mAh lithium polymer power supply from Amperex Technology costs $19.40. The power management module, which is made up of Qualcomm and Texas Instruments parts, totals $12.50.

The total of all the parts is $318, and iSuppli believes the cost to manufacture the TouchPad is about $10. That makes for a total of $328 per TouchPad. The 16-GB model retails for $499, and the 32-GB model retails for $599. HP is making approximately $193 and $271 off the 16-GB and 32-GB TouchPad, respectively.

By way of comparison, the 32-GB Wi-Fi Apple iPad costs about $325 to make, and sells for $599.

The cost to manufacture does not include additional expenses, such as research and development, software, shipping, advertising, and other considerations. Still with an average of $175 of room to play with, there's no doubt that tablets can be a profitable endeavour, as Apple has so convincingly shown us.

In the new, all-digital InformationWeek Healthcare: iPads are leading a new wave of devices into the exam room. Are security, tech support, and infection control up to the task? Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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