Dataquest

Publication Date: 13 May 2008 ID Number: G00156864

Dataquest Insight: Teardown and Semiconductor Cost Analysis of "One Laptop per Child's" XO-1 Laptop
Amy Teng, Alfonso Velosa, Jamie Wang, Ben Lee

The "One Laptop per Child" (OLPC) project aims to provide children throughout the world with a low-cost laptop. The first product launched by the organization is the XO-1 laptop. This report analyzes the circuit design of the XO-1 through a physical "deconstruction" of the equipment. In this report, we provide analysis of semiconductor functions and costs, including annotated photographs of its printed circuit boards (PCBs) and a list of the main integrated circuits (ICs). Key Findings
• • The XO-1 laptop uses an embedded processor structure rather than the x86 architecture favored by most mobile PCs. OLPC designers used a number of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), a proprietary LCD module and special battery cells in the XO-1. This will make it difficult to find alternative vendors of XO-1 components, and to reduce the laptop's costs. Double data rate (DDR) memory increases the overall cost of semiconductors in the XO1 because it is not a mainstream type of memory. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries make the XO-1 a safe and environmentallyfriendly laptop, but they cost more than traditional Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries.

• •

Recommendations
• System designers should consider speed a key design concern for mobile PCs aimed at children. Children can be impatient and slow system speeds can lead to loss of interest and may hamper learning. Mobile PC manufacturers targeting emerging markets and remote countries should focus on logistic fulfillment, technical support and customer services, in addition to creating durable products. Semiconductor vendors and investors should recognize that the XO-1 is sold to governments rather than to consumers and should ensure that customers have a sustainable purchasing plan to help guarantee future sales.

© 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

.............. 12 Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner.................................................................................................................................................................. 3 System Overview................................. 11 Semiconductor Cost .................................................. 3 Table 2.............................................. All Rights Reserved............. List of Main Integrated Circuits in XO-1.............................. The XO-1 Laptop............................................................. 9 System Block Diagram ........... XO-1 System PCB.................. 13 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1................................. 8 Designed To Be Serviced Easily ............ 7 Figure 3.................................................................................................................. LCD Pixel Arrangement........................................................................................... 8 Unique Design Features.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 10 Figure 5................................................. 3 Introduction .............. 8 Figure 4........................................................... 9 Transflective Dual-Mode LCD ............................................................................................................................ 9 LiFePO4 Battery ..... 14 Conclusion ................................. Page 2 of 15 ........ 8 Designed To Be Durable ........................................ XO-1 With LCD and Front Frame Removed ............................. Inc................................................................................................................................................................. 13 The Impact.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 5 Figure 2........... 10 Main ICs and Components ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS Analysis ................................................................. Cost Analysis by Semiconductor Type................................................................ 11 Figure 6.......................................................................... 4 Design Considerations .................................................................... 13 Background and Context .......................................... XO-1 With LCD Rear Panel Removed ................ 14 LIST OF TABLES Table 1........................... 3 XO-1 Specifications ............................................................ XO-1 Specifications ................................................................ and/or its Affiliates... 12 Table 3...................... XO-1 System Block Diagram .................................................. 14 Recommended Reading.....................................................................................................................................................................................

11b/g and 802.5 inch. 3100 mAh. and/or its Affiliates.45 kg • • Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. Input: 100 vac to 240 vac 242 mm x 228 mm x 32 mm 1. System designers.11s mesh Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2. This research details the specifications.5 vdc AC adapter (auto-switching): Output: 12 vdc. thin film transistor (TFT) LCD Resolution: 1200 x 900 (black and white). transflective. components and semiconductor costs for the XO-1 and provides an analysis of its design. Inc. dual-mode. 800 x 600 (color) Resolution: 640 x 430 at 30 frames per second 802.0 x 3 Headphone out x 1 Microphone in x 1 1GB NAND flash (built in) SD memory card slot Battery: Rechargeable LiFePO4. All Rights Reserved. Get One" program ($200 per laptop) AMD Geode LX-700 embedded processor CPU clock: 433 MHz AMD CS5536AD southbridge Integrated Circuit 256MB DDR-333 Synchronous DRAM 7. XO-1 Specifications Category Price System Core Logic Specification • • • • System Memory Display • • • Camera Connectivity External Ports • • • • • Removable Memory and Storage Power Sources • • • • Dimensions Weight Source: Gartner (May 2008) $400 under the "Give One. Table 1. chip vendors and investors can use this document to understand how the OLPC works and where its principal semiconductor costs lie. Page 3 of 15 .ANALYSIS Introduction OLPC designed the XO-1 laptop to help meet the educational needs of children in developing countries. 6. XO-1 Specifications Table 1 outlines the specifications for the XO-1.

All Rights Reserved. and/or its Affiliates. Users of the XO-1 can fold its LCD screen over its keyboard so that it functions like a tablet PC. Page 4 of 15 . Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. OLPC incorporated a four-direction pad and multifunction buttons on the side of the XO-1 (see Figure 1) because its LCD does not have touch-screen functionality.System Overview Figure 1 shows the layout of the XO-1. Inc.

Figure 1. The XO-1 Laptop USB = Universal Serial Bus. keyboard and touchpad is in the lower part of the PC. WLAN = wireless LAN Source: Gartner (May 2008) Unlike in most mobile PCs. Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. the XO-1's system printed circuit board (PCB) is located behind its LCD panel. All Rights Reserved. and/or its Affiliates. Inc. The PCB for the battery. Page 5 of 15 .

All Rights Reserved.Figures 2 and 3 show the XO-1's connectors and system PCB with the LCD and plastic panels removed. Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. Page 6 of 15 . and/or its Affiliates. Inc.

Page 7 of 15 .Figure 2. XO-1 With LCD and Front Frame Removed LED = light-emitting diode. Inc. and/or its Affiliates. PCB = printed circuit board Source: Gartner (May 2008) Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. All Rights Reserved.

the laptop is both easy to service and durable. The laptop demonstrates this through several features: • • • The casing is made from thick plastic. Inc. Page 8 of 15 . All Rights Reserved. Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. and/or its Affiliates. Rounded angles limit damage to the laptop if it is dropped. Designed To Be Durable The XO-1 was designed to meet the challenges of life in emerging nations. USB = Universal Serial Bus. The laptop can be dismantled quickly using only a Philips head screwdriver. XO-1 With LCD Rear Panel Removed SD = Secure Digital. Designed To Be Serviced Easily Designers working on the OLPC project recognized that children using the XO-1 would not always have access to repair shops or someone to help them fix the laptop if it broke. A textured surface and handle make it easy to grip. As a result. and two aspects of its design illustrate this: • • Only one type of screw is used in the XO-1.Figure 3. These designers wanted the XO-1 to be easy to fix. WLAN = wireless LAN Source: Gartner (May 2008) Design Considerations OLPC developed unique designs to meet the needs of children in emerging nations. PCB = printed circuit board. Spare screws for the XO-1 are housed in its plastic casing.

This display arrangement means that the XO-1 uses an ASIC. • • It is safer and does not generate oxygen.• • The Wi-Fi antenna flips up to support wireless access. where light can be reflected by the LCD screen as backlight. it operates in color mode with a resolution of 800 x 600. so it can work in hot environments without exploding. the XO-1's LCD pixel arrangement differs from the vertical striped RGB pattern in most mobile PCs. they do not need external circuits to monitor the battery status and to prevent the risk of over current and overheating. All Rights Reserved. The keyboard has a rubber membrane that protects it from spillages and dust. • • Transflective Dual-Mode LCD The XO-1's LCD screen operates in two modes. it does not contain any toxic heavy-metals. The squared and interlaced pixel pattern (shown in Figure 4) supports the increased resolution in black-and-white mode. LiFePO4 Battery The XO-1 uses a LiFePO4 battery and. Inc. while it costs more and shows poorer energy density than a Li-Ion battery of the same size. Transflective screens reflect most of the sunlight they are exposed to. but they also serve as latches to secure the LCD. Himax HX8837-A010LAG. It has a longer life span and more cycle charges than a Li-Ion battery. In addition. and can increase or decrease their brightness automatically depending on the light conditions. it does have some advantages. the XO-1 switches to black-and-white mode and the LCD resolution increases to 1200 x 900. and/or its Affiliates. Page 9 of 15 . This display mode was designed for use in conditions with lots of light. Unique Design Features The XO-1 incorporates two electronic specifications not commonly seen in conventional mobile PCs. Because LiFePO4 batteries are safer than Li-Ion batteries. to control the LCD. In addition. Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. Once the backlight is turned off. When the laptop's backlight is turned on. The molecular structure of LiFePO4 batteries allows large current operations and means they charge faster than other batteries.

Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. Its LCD controller IC is the Himax HX8837-A010LAG. made by Chi Mei Optoelectronics and Broadcom's 88ALP01. RGB = red. OLPC designers chose to use AMD's Geode LX-700 embedded processor. The XO-1 uses Geode's companion device. AMD CS5536AD. Inc. LCD Pixel Arrangement OLPC = One Laptop per Child. All Rights Reserved. blue Source: Gartner (May 2008) System Block Diagram Most mobile PCs with an x86 architecture contain a CPU and a set of northbridge and southbridge chips. Page 10 of 15 . and/or its Affiliates. a SD. NAND and camera controller. The XO-1 has two additional ASICs.Figure 4. which integrates the CPU and northbridge IC. as its southbridge IC (see Figure 5). To create an affordable laptop that meets the needs of children. green.

More detail is provided in Table 2. LCD = liquid crystal display Source: Gartner (May 2008) Main ICs and Components The major ICs and components on the XO-1's system PCB are identified in Figure 6. Page 11 of 15 . Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner.Figure 5. LDO = low drop-out. Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. DDR = double data rate. XO-1 System Block Diagram IC = Integrated Circuit. DAC = digital-to-analog converter.

1Gb x. All Rights Reserved. single-level cell (SLC) Units 1 ASSP ASSP Marvell AMD 88W8015-NNB1 ALXC700EETHCVD 1 1 ASSP ASSP Memory Memory AMD ENE Hynix Hynix CS5536AD KB3700 HY5DU121622CTP-J HY27UG088G5MTPCB 1 1 4 1 Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. and/or its Affiliates.Figure 6. Page 12 of 15 . XO-1 System PCB Source: Gartner (May 2008) Table 2.11a/b/g WLAN transceiver IC Geode LX-700 embedded processor Southbridge IC Keyboard controller 32M x 16 DDR333 SDRAM NAND flash.11a/b/g WLAN system-on-chip (SoC) IC 802. List of Main Integrated Circuits in XO-1 Semiconductor Type ASSP Vendor Marvell Part Number/Marking 88W8388-BDK1 Description 802. Inc.

1% 1. Cost Analysis by Semiconductor Type Semiconductor Type ASSP Memory ASIC Analog Discrete General-Purpose Logic Optical Semiconductors Total Source: Gartner (May 2008) Cost ($) 34. All Rights Reserved.69 62.Semiconductor Type Memory Analog Analog Analog Vendor ESMT Winbond Analog Device Fujitsu Part Number/Marking M12S16161ALZS1P71AZ W83152RG-G09 AD1888JCPZ MB39A129PFV Description 1M x 16 SDRAM Clock generator AC 97 codec IC Power management IC.68 3.75 1.93 Cost share 54.88 6. ASIC = application-specific integrated circuit.1% 100. News Corporation. Google.64 1.6% 3. SES.0% 2. Moreover. eBay.0% ASSP = application-specific standard product.6% 6. Page 13 of 15 . WLAN = wireless LAN Source: Gartner (May 2008) Semiconductor Cost Table 3 shows that application-specific standard products (ASSPs) account for the largest share of semiconductor costs in the XO-1.6% 22.1% 10. SDRAM = synchronous dynamic RAM. The initial goal of the organization was to provide children in emerging countries with otherwise Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. ASIC = application-specific integrated circuit BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT OLPC is chaired by Nicholas Negroponte and sponsored by organizations including AMD. Table 3. IC = integrated circuit. SD and camera host controller LCD controller IC Units 1 1 1 1 ASIC Marvell 88ALP01 1 ASIC Himax HX8837-A010LAG 1 ASSP = application-specific standard product. Brightstar. with battery charger Peripheral component interconnect (PCI) to NAND.96 0. and/or its Affiliates.33 13. Nortel Networks and Red Hat. Inc. the AMD Geode LX-700 embedded processor accounts for more than 70% of total ASSP costs. Marvell.

governments and non-governmental organizations may be better served waiting for the next generation of computers from OLPC. OLPC faces competition from existing PC vendors. if the project succeeds. the XO-1 costs $400 ($200 per laptop). These companies hold greater purchasing power and have more experience and better-established infrastructures for selling PCs with added value and well-delivered customer service packages. CONCLUSION Gartner's teardown of the XO-1 indicates that the OLPC initiative succeeded in designing a lowcost laptop. Gartner believes that the OLPC initiative will be affected by pressure from larger PC vendors. which is supported by a variety of ASICs. All Rights Reserved. However. Libya. get one" program. Gartner found the XO-1 to be slow to power-up. Governments that have committed to buy laptops for their schoolchildren include Argentina. Worldwide" "Dataquest Insight: Successful IT Hardware Strategies for Emerging Markets" This document is published in the following Market Insights: Semiconductor Applications Worldwide Semiconductor Industry Asia/Pacific Semiconductor Industry Worldwide Publication Date: 13 May 2008/ID Number: G00156864 © 2008 Gartner. Rwanda. OLPC aimed to design and distribute laptops to governments willing to adopt the policy of "one laptop per child. Page 14 of 15 . it will demonstrate a new business model that might attract vendors with the promise of further profits. Under the "give one. The XO-1 boasts a unique design based on the AMD Geode LX-700 embedded processor. and/or its Affiliates. it is difficult to attract investment from vendors. RECOMMENDED READING "Dataquest Insight: Forecast Scenarios for Education Ultralow-Cost Mobile PCs. to navigate Web pages and to respond to key strokes. The association relies on subsidies and commitments from governments to lower prices for the XO-1. these design choices have led to tradeoffs in functionality that may limit its use by children. Inc. We estimate the semiconductor cost to be less than $61. The design choices also limit the potential to reduce the price of the XO-1 in the future." Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM) Quanta Computer manufactures the laptop and began full-scale production in November 2007.unavailable technology to support their education. Nigeria. Because OLPC is a not-for-profit initiative. Thailand and Uruguay. ASSPs and non-mainstream DRAM memory. Given the limitations of the current design. The competitive landscape of the mobile PC market keeps pushing average selling prices of mobile PCs down to reach a larger market. Brazil. However. THE IMPACT OLPC’s XO-1 is the first global-scale project that aims to improve education for children in emerging countries through specially-designed computers.

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