Analysts tear apart the Motorola Droid Bionic, find a custom LTE modem inside

Motorola’s Droid Bionic, announced back in January at the Consumer Electronic Show and then released 8 months later, is an amazing device, but it’ll quickly be forgotten once the next generation of Android superphones come out in late Q4 2011 and 1H 2012. That being said, the Bionic does bring something to the table that no one else has yet had the expertise to produce, and that’s a dual core processor paired up with an LTE modem. Analysts at ABI Research recently got ahold of a Bionic and immediately started taking it apart to see who makes the components inside. Curiously, instead of Motorola going to Qualcomm for a modem that can do both CDMA and LTE, they went with a Qualcomm component for the CDMA portion of the device, and then they built an LTE moden in-house. ABI Research Vice President of Engineering, James Mielke, says: “Motorola has mixed some of the latest technology with quite a few components now considered the norm and a few that have not been seen in phones for years.”

The bigger question here is what’s Google going to do with all these radio experts once they officially become Googlers? Motorola’s got some immensely talented people. Not just any engineer can build an LTE modem. How will that talent translate to something useful to a software company? Motorola could start selling their components to other suppliers, but then that would put them in direct competition with Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, and Intel (formerly Infineon Wireless). Google doesn’t (shouldn’t?) want to compete with the very same suppliers that they depend on to build the hardware that powers their Android devices. It’s tricky to say the least, but something we should have a clearer picture of over the next few months.

What do you think Motorola’s decision to build their own LTE modem means for the wireless industry as a whole?

[Photo via: iFixit]

  • Anonymous

    Building their own lte modem mean no royalties paid to Qualcomm.  The real story will be what this group of Motorola radio experts are working on next?  Can they cut Qualcomm out completely?

  • Anonymous

    Can somebody please do this to the Photon 4G. I don’t have the heart to rip mine apart but I’m curious to see what wireless components are in there. 

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