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28
February
2011
IHS iSuppli

Nvidia, Bosch Sensortec, StMicro & Atmel = Motorola XOOM

The IHS iSuppli team of teardown experts has obtained and opened up a brand new Motorola XOOM wireless 3G tablet—model MZ600—running Google Android 3.0 on Verizon Wireless’ CDMA network. Well then! Have a closer look.
XOOM Sports Fast Processor, Advanced Touch Screen Controller

The 10.1-inch display, 1.6-pound tablet closely approximates the Apple iPad’s dimensions but outdoes its year-old forerunner by including both a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel auto focus primary camera. Unlike the iPad, the XOOM now comes in only one configuration, with 32GB of NAND storage. However, the XOOM makes up for this lack of variety with its powerful dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 apps processor, ample 1GB synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) and loads of extra sensors.

While the Apple iPad incorporated a single-core ARM processor, the Motorola XOOM ups the ante with a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 solution. By using a dual-core design, the XOOM and can run processes and software much faster. The XOOM also includes nearly four times as much SDRAM for code storage that Apple’s A4 microprocessor employed, further boosting performance. The IHS iSuppli teardown team discovered this exact chip last year in an Android-based Toshiba Smartbook (AC100). The Tegra 2 provides very competitive performance relative to traditional microprocessors found in netbook PCs, platforms that compete with media tablets.

The Motorola XOOM is marketed to consumers as a device that is upgradable to 4G free of charge. The IHS iSuppli teardown reveals why XOOM owners must surrender their product back to the factory for a physical upgrade to 4G networking. There were no 4G components found in the XOOM tablet aside from a dummy miniPCIe card—an obvious placeholder for the future LTE upgrade. However, Motorola did provide two MIMO antennas and a SIM card slot in preparation for the LTE upgrade.

The Motorola Xoom uses the Atmel mXT1386 touch screen controller, a new 32-bit device capable of registering up to 16 discrete touch points. While the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Team has identified single-chip Atmel touch screen controllers in the past in Android smart phones, this solution contains a whopping four-chip solution from Atmel.

The Motorola XOOM seems to be pushing the bounds for integrating a large number of sensors in a tablet. Besides the more mundane CMOS image camera sensors, there are a host of other sensors. These include an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, a 3-axis accelerometer from Kionix, a 3-axis gyroscope from STMicroelectronics and a pressure monitor from Bosch Sensortec.

Why did Motorola include a barometer in a tablet? According to IHS microelectromechanical sensor expert Jérémie Bouchaud, this pressure sensor works in conjunction with the global positioning system (GPS) for indoor navigation applications.
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