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Cracking Open the Motorola Droid Bionic

TechRepublic's Bill Detwiler cracks open Motorola's Droid Bionic. Inside the Verizon 4G LTE smartphone he found hardware from Elpida, Atmel, and Qualcomm.
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Topic: Mobility
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In September 2011, Verizon added a fourth device to its growing lineup of 4G LTE smartphones--the Motorola Droid Bionic. Like Verizon's other 4G phones (the HTC ThunderBolt, LG Revolution, and Samsung Droid Charge), the Bionic runs Google's Android operating system.

In May, I cracked open the HTC ThunderBolt, and was excited to get my hands on another 4G device. Follow along as I go inside the Motorola Droid Bionic.

For a more in-depth review of the Bionic's internal hardware, check out my article, "Droid Bionic Teardown: Motorola switches processors, upgrades RAM in final version."

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The Motorola Droid Bionic is available from Verizon for $299.99 (US) with a two-year contract. I bought our Bionic test device (sans contract) from a local Best Buy Mobile location for $699.99 (plus tax). Interestingly, Verizon's Web site lists the full retail price as $589.99.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Our the Droid Bionic has a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 16GB of storage, 8MP rear-facing camera, VGA-quality front-facing camera, and 4.3" display (960x540 pixels).

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Inside the Droid Bionic's box, you'll find the device itself (includes removable back panel, battery, and microSD card), USB cable, power adapter, and product documentation.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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The Droid Bionic measures 5" (H) x 2.6" (W) x 0.5" (D). It weighs 5.6 ounces.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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Removing the Droid Bionic's back cover grants you access to the user-replaceable battery, microSD card slot, and SIM card slot.

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The Droid Bionic's rear case is held in place with 11 Torx T5 screws.

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Before removing the rear case, I had to peel off a sticker that lined the back of the battery compartment.

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With the rear case screws and battery compartment sticker removed, you can remove the rear case.

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The internal loudspeaker, headphone jack, and LED flash are mounted to the rear case.

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Unfortunately, the EMI shields on the Motorola Droid Bionic's main PCB are soldered in place. To avoid damaging the components on the PCB, I decided to leave the shields in place. There are still a few components we can remove from the main PCB.

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One of the only removable shields on the Droid Bionic's main PCB is the one covering the processor. It also covers the rear-facing camera's connector.

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Using a thin metal blade, I detached the 8MP rear-facing camera's connector from the main PCB.

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Several rubber "cushions" surround various components on the main PCB. I removed them using a pair of tweezers.

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When announced at CES 2011, Motorola indcated that the Droid Bionic would use a dual-core Nvidia TEgra 2 processor. But the final version of the phone uses this Elpida B8064B2PB-8D-F chip, which contains 8 Gb DRAM and the Texas Instruments OMAP4430 Application Processor.

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The Motorola Droid Bionic was remarkabley easy to disassemble. It uses standard screws, has a user-replaceable battery, and readily-accessible components. Only the rear-facing camera was a pain to remove.

For a more in-depth review of the Bionic's internal hardware, check out my article, "Droid Bionic Teardown: Motorola switches processors, upgrades RAM in final version."

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