The Suppliers Behind The BlackBerry Z10

by: Todd Campbell

It's been a while since we've had a new mobile device teardown worthy of significant attention, so when iFixit got its hands on BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) Z10 everyone -- okay -- some people tuned in to see who the supply chain winners were.

There weren't many supplier surprises.

The list of vendors reads much like we've seen in most devices, including Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), ST Micro (NYSE:STM) and Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO).

Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) provides the flash memory in the iFixit teardown model. It also supplies the controller and RAM. The wins are likely described as incremental at best, particularly given lackluster early sales.

But, if buyers do materialize, Qualcomm is more likely to find itself a winner.

The company won a number of slots, including for its MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 processor, the high volume dual core chip that Qualcomm couldn't build enough of last year.

In addition to the processor, Qualcomm supplies the PM8921 Power Management IC and the RTR8600, which acts as the multi-band transceiver connecting the phone to carrier networks. The 8600 has been the go-to solution, given it's also found in Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S III. Qualcomm also beat out Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS) for the audio codec slot, supplying the WCD9310.

Avago also has a strong showing in the Z10. The Z10 includes an Avago ACPM-7051 Quad-Band and Dual-Band power amplifier and the ACPM-5017 LTE power amplifier.

The phone's motion control features - important for gaming and GPS navigation - are supplied by ST Microelectronics. The company won the accelerometer and gyroscope slots with its LIS3DH and the LSM330DLC solutions.

Device makers also continue to embrace Near Field Communication ("NFC") with the hope phones will increasingly serve as mobile wallets. Blackberry selected Inside's SecuRead 972-DC-C6 chip, which features an Infineon (OTCQX:IFNNY) security microcontroller.

Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) may have announced its exit from the mobile processor battle, ending mobile development for its OMAP line to focus on automotive last year. But, the company does continue to sell other chips to smartphone makers. Its WL1273L wireless module, which handles WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, was chosen for the Z10.

Triquint (TQNT) sells Blackberry its TQP6M9017 Dual Band WLAN module and RF Micro (RFMD) sells its RF7252 Linear Power Amp Module. The Triquint Chip allows connection to the latest Wi-Fi iteration, 802.11 ac, which promises a much faster download experience. The RF Micro chip is developed for UMTS Band 2 and CDMA PCS bands.

It should also be noted the glass chosen for the device isn't Corning's (NYSE:GLW) Gorilla Glass. Instead it's a single pane glass with the touch sensitivity built into the back side of the cover glass. The glass is reportedly supplied by Taiwan's Wintek and Cando. Those touches are handled by Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) Clearpad 3203 touchscreen controller.

While early reports indicate tepid adoption of BlackBerry's latest phone in the U.S., the device could see greater success globally. If so, these suppliers may enjoy volume growth. But, even if the Z10 doesn't prove the hit Blackberry is hoping for, these well-known suppliers remain some of the biggest market share winners in the still growing mobile device space.

Disclosure: I am long QCOM. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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