A product teardown is the act of disassembling a product in order to identify and analyze its component parts. It is most frequently performed on electronic products such as televisions, computers, and cell phones. Product teardowns are most common in the smartphone industry, as it is competitive to the extent that every chip circuitry can make a difference; whether it decreases the bill of materials cost or improves the phone to increase product valuation. Let’s take a deeper look at the smartphone teardown process.
Benchmarking with a Smartphone Teardown
An individual or business could seek to perform a smartphone teardown on a competing product for multiple reasons. First, they may intend to benchmark a competing smartphone to help with the development of their own smartphone. By taking apart and analyzing the components that are part of a competing phone, a business can attempt to “beat” its opponent by using a superior part in their own phone.
For example, if the smartphone I manufacture has a poor camera, I can choose to purchase a competitor’s phone that is highly regarded for its powerful camera. After taking it apart, I find it has a certain processing chip that allows for better quality photos. I contact the manufacturer of this part or one that makes similar parts and inquire if they produce even better, higher-quality chips. If they do, great. I make them my supplier and now have a competitive advantage when it comes to smartphone cameras. If not, I have the option of settling and “matching” my competitor with the same processing chip.
Many businesses choose this strategy, as it is less costly. Seems easy, right? It mostly is, but the difficult step is performing the actual teardown and generating all of the necessary report-documentation. Every smartphone teardown analysis should be accompanied by a BOM (bill of materials) in order to define costs for each phone component part.
Smartphone Teardown and Intellectual Property
Another reason an individual or business could choose to perform a smartphone teardown, is to analyze use of intellectual property. The protection of intellectual property assets is of the utmost importance. This is where EoU (Evidence of Use) reports come into play. An evidence of use report, is tabular format evidence used in patent claim charts. They can be used for patent sale, licensing, or litigation.
A common practice that involves Smartphone teardown and intellectual property is “reverse engineering.” This is essentially micro-level chip investigation—a very precise form of teardown. The overlapping goal is to define a particular piece of intellectual property and analyze if it was used in the smartphone.
For more information, check out this extensive report on the impact of the acquisition and use of patents on the smartphone industry.
Iphone X Teardown
After the iPhone X was released, engineers at iFixit performed a teardown of the much-anticipated smartphone. It was an interesting investigation, as the iPhone X is significantly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus. Somehow, the newer phone managed to fit in an increased quantity and quality of its components, than its predecessor. While the iPhone 8 Plus has one battery, the iPhone X managed to double that. Boasting a total rated capacity of 2,716 milliamp-hours, these two batteries actually save space for other circuitry, and increase battery capacity in the process. This is useful information for both the consumer and competing manufacturers.
Take Samsung, for example. They may wish to perform a smartphone teardown with possible reverse engineering of the iPhone X for different purposes. If Samsung is planning on releasing a new smartphone like the Galaxy, they will want to position it as either a top-of-the-line product with the most advanced features, or an affordable phone that gets the job done while appealing to customers with a budget. After dismantling the iPhone X, Samsung engineers can analyze the battery supply. After studying the technology, they may start the process of producing their own batteries in order to hold maximum capacity while saving room for other components in their new premium phone. On the other hand, they could invest in research to design a similar battery system at a lower cost, with the intent of decreasing that cost in the bill of materials.
Smartphone teardown at GHB Intellect
While GHB Intellect performs teardowns on a wide variety of products, smartphone teardown is one of our specialties. If you are looking to complete a teardown of any product, including smartphones, GHB Intellect offers a variety of services including reverse engineering, product teardown analysis, and detailed teardown reports. With our modern and well-equipped laboratories, we perform the most precise tear downs possible, down to chip-circuitry level. If you would like more information please contact us.
GHB Intellect, a division of GHB Services, LLC, is a full-service intellectual property consulting and engineering services firm with a growing cadre of hundreds of IP consulting experts & scientific professionals highly specialized in technology and innovation.