Samsung Chromebook Carries $332.12 Bill of Materials: iSuppli Teardown

Slated for release June 15, the 3G version of the Samsung Chromebook will be available at retail for $499.

Including a 12.1-inch display, a full day (8.5 hours) of battery life, a new dual-core Atom processor, 2GB of memory and a 16GB solid-state drive, the Samsung Chromebook carries a bill of materials of $322.12, according to the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service. When the $12.20 manufacturing cost of the Samsung Chromebook is added in, IHS iSuppli researchers found the total cost to produce the device rose to $334.32.

The Series 5 Chromebook sports attributes commonly found in a full-featured notebook, according to a preliminary physical dissection of the product by IHS iSuppli. The firm noted the assessment accounts only for hardware costs, and does not take into consideration other expenses, such as manufacturing software, licensing, royalties or other costs.

"The Chromebook's focus on providing a compelling user experience has resulted in the inclusion of some advanced hardware features not typically found in low-cost notebooks," IHS iSuppli said in a report.

The Chromebook is a mobile-computing platform that boots up within eight seconds, connects to the Web via WiFi or 3G, and stores all its data in the cloud. Samsung also invested in an all-day, six-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 carries a cost of $48.20, or 14.5 percent of the overall BOM.

Slated for release June 15, the 3G version of the Samsung Chromebook will be available at retail for $499, with a WiFi version costing $70 less.

Acer will also be making a Chromebook, and Google will offer the devices on a subscription model for the education and enterprise segments. In the United States, Verizon will be a partner on the Chromebook initiative, offering 100MB of 3G service free each month for two years.

The motherboard is the most expensive subsystem of the Chromebook, at $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 a 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM (double data rate type three synchronous dynamic RAM). The motherboard also features a dual-core Atom N570 processor from Intel and a TMP (Trusted Platform Module) for computing security from Infineon Technologies.

At $40.45, or 12.2 percent of the BOM, are other mechanicals and enclosures, including the keyboard assembly and touch-pad assembly. The other costs in the BOM include a 16GB SSD (solid-state disk) for storage, at $28, or 8.4 percent of the total cost.

"Ironically, the drive was sourced from SanDisk and not from Samsung's own internal line of flash memory and SSDs," the report noted. "Most likely, Samsung did not have an SSD of equivalent capacity, and the company wanted to keep overall BOM costs low by supplying an acceptable, but not overly large, storage capacity."

The peripheral printed-circuit board, which contains the WiFi and PC camera modules, came in at $17.85, or 5.4 percent of the BOM. The box contents, which include an AC power adapter and other accessories, cost $10.40, or 3.1 percent of the total.

"The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is every bit a full-sized notebook PC-just don't call it that," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst of competitive analysis at IHS iSuppli. "Featuring Google's Chrome operating software, the Chromebook represents the search-engine giant's first commercial implementation of its Web-centric vision designed to entice users to move away from standalone computers to the network storage medium known as the cloud. But as much as Google would like to de-emphasize the role of user hardware, it is the hardware, in fact, that defines the Chromebook and will determine the success of the platform."