Name that Ware, July 2009

The Ware for July 2009 is shown below. Click on the image for a much larger version.

I thought I’d try something new for this competition. Above is a scan of a completely blank PCB. I don’t actually know what it’s from. I just bought it from a vendor in the Shenzhen mobile phone market who also didn’t know what it’s from — it was just used for shop decoration to attract customers. Since I actually don’t know what it’s for, I’ll have to rely on the depth of your comments to convince me. If nobody can convince me, then there would be no winner. On the other hand, it’s quite possible I could choose a winner who incorrectly identifies the ware, but that’s ok — this game has always been more about explanation and sharing thought processes, rather than about absolute accuracy.

I do think a blank PCB like this is fairly interesting to post for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives you a real appreciation for the sheer density of routing on a mobile phone motherboard. Second of all, this is a great example of an HDI-buildup, blind/buried via PCB. If you look at the large version of the scan, you can see the dimples where they used a laser, instead of a drill, to cut tiny vias into the outer layers of the circuit boards. There are almost no through-holes, and via-in-pad (typically forbidden when using through-hole vias) is very common in this design. Finally, this pair of PCBs is actually still in its manufacturing frame, which reveals a number of test structures that you never see (visible on the right hand side) that are used to verify that the PCB’s construction is correct.

You can also see in here how the two copies of the board are inverted across the horizontal mid-plane. I’m not 100% sure why they do this, but I suspect it has to do with balancing throughput on the SMT line. One side of the PCB is very dense with components and the other side isn’t. Since the board has components on both sides, you will have to flip the board over at least once to process each side. On high-throughput SMT lines, this means that you’ll have two (expensive) SMT pick/place (or chip shooting) machines back to back, one to handle the top, and the other to handle the bottom after flipping. If you have both boards top-side up, then the SMT machine handling the denser top side would run much longer than the one handling the sparser bottom side, and you would effectively be idling one machine for a relatively long period of time. This would increase the amount of capital you have to spend to scale your production line and require greater amortization for a given throughput, ultimately driving up product cost (or reducing your net profit). Mirroring the board about a central axis also allows you to use the exact same programming for the two back-to-back SMT machines (separated by a robotic flipping mechanism) so you only have to optimize one SMT program, although at the expense of possibly having to incorporate a greater mix of parts within a single SMT machine.

23 Responses to “Name that Ware, July 2009”

  1. johnny ^_^ says:

    judging by the first look, i would say it’s some HTC device, probably Rhodium (touchpro 2)?

    layout of sideway buttons on top (two on right one on left), sim and uSD card slots, 11pin audio jack/tv out/mini usb on bottom. also the spot for cpu in the is identical to qualcomm msm7200a pinout.

  2. There are very few devices with a nice 5-row QWERTY keyboard, judging from the keys layout, it’s definitely an HTC Touch PRO2 (also known as HTC Fortress for AT&T).
    HTC Touch PRO (without 2) have a different qwerty layout!


  3. JCash says:

    checked all the qwerty devices on gsmarena
    only the HTC Touch Pro 2 fits here, the CPU also fits here
    theres a third button on the left side, unless the volume key is a triple key actually.
    johnny you win =)

  4. Brendan says:

    Yeah, that’s the Touch Pro 2. Here’s the internal pictures from its FCC test–the boards are the same.

    Very interesting to see it bare vs. populated

    • JCash says:

      Brendan, how do you look up devices at the FCC site?
      im trying to find the Nokia E71

      • Brendan says:

        Lately, a hyped-up phone going through the FCC will merit a story on Engadget and the other blogs, so I just searched for “touch pro 2 fcc” to find that link. If that doesn’t turn anything up (it doesn’t for the E71), catalogs FCC IDs and provides convenient links:

        From the FCC result screen, just click on the detail list for each exhibit until you find one that has an “Internal photos” attachment

  5. Zach says:

    It’s the HTC Touch Pro2.

    The keyboard lines up, as people have said, and the holes in the PCB line up with the hinges on the phone. Where the camera is on the Touch Pro2, there is a pad that looks like it would be used for a imaging sensor. The mini-USB & microSD footprints are where they should be on the phone. The SIM card holder is also in the same spot, and based on the slikscreen outline, is a similar style to that used in the phone.


  6. Aris says:

    Sorry of this is OT, but have any Android based phones started showing up at this market? I’m thinking that having a standard OS which is “open” will really bring out the creativeness in these phone makers and make their products stand out.

  7. howdypda says:

    Hi, Bunnie,

    Have you heard about Zhongji Student PC in Shenzhen? It has Linux OS and touch screen but costs only $20!

    hi-pda forum has its spec and photos:

    Translate by google translation from Chinese:

    Book reader:
    Students themselves to read, or long-range guidance by teachers, can do in the book notes, plus endorsement marking.
    Graphing Calculator:
    4 can be carried out calculations, trigonometric functions, logarithmic functions, exponential function of the calculation; and on a dollar to solve the quadratic equation group graphics; and a strong computing and graphics of the graphics display.
    Word-processing functions:
    Can be editing a text file, spreadsheet, graphic mixed to form the operation; be prepared to manage personal data, personal schedule, personal contacts, curriculum; At the same time, with regular reminders, receive external features such as program information.
    Multimedia features:
    Support for MP3, Wav, Midi and other mainstream audio formats; through a microphone to record voice wav format; can be obtained from bmp, gif, jpg, tif and other mainstream graphical formats; can be a simple graphics editor.
    Surf the web:
    To support the web browser to send and receive e-mail.
    Provide Chinese dictionary, English-Chinese dictionary, common weights and measures table and query a list of commonly used formulas.
    Graphics tools:
    Can be a simple graphics editor.
    Puzzle game:
    Can increase a number of intelligence, but also full of interesting little game.
    Performance Test:
    High-performance processor, which is equivalent to Pentium II computers.
    Can store information about 16 million Chinese characters.
    Support of powerful applications.
    Large color LCD display. Ultra-clear display.
    To connect large-capacity MMC, CF storage devices.
    Pleasing to look at, easy to operate, consistent with the use of the characteristics of primary and secondary school students.
    Low power consumption, the normal work of an ordinary cell can be 3-4 hours.
    A variety of external devices can be connected.
    Ergonomic design.
    Name of configuration
    CPU Strong Arm 206MHz
    Memory 32MB SDRAM, 32MB FLASH
    MMC memory card slot slot, CF card slot (II type)
    Port USB, PS / 2, RJ11, RJ45
    Input handwriting recognition, soft keyboard, keyboard input
    Display 8.2-inch 640×480 pixel color DSTN
    Audio built-in speaker and microphone
    Then the power supply / rechargeable lithium batteries
    Infrared 115kbps IrDA Ver1.2
    3-4 hour battery life (tentative)
    Weight 0.95Kg (without battery)
    Size 252.20×195.11×29.04mm
    Power external devices, an external keyboard
    LINUX operating system operating system
    Matching MMC card, CF card, Flash Disk

  8. Universal Turing Machine says:

    hey bunnie defently a htc phone mainbord mate.

    Hey have you guys seen the new xbox 360 jtag hack pritty impressive, i guess this means we will see a unencrypted copy of xbox 360 kernel reminds of when you were working with it mate tmbinc and free60 have made really big progress i guess this means your be able to further your work with folding at home bunnie.

    anyway nice stuff as always mate.


    oh here’s a video of said hack

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  15. William says:

    One more reason for flipping boards within a panel: This potentially allows you to use the same program for loading components on both side, either by running the boards twice through a single-sided machine or by running them sequentially through a pair of machines running the same pick-and-place program with a board flip between. It allows more production flexibility.

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