Motorola Droid 3 Teardown

Removing the keyboard from the Motorola Droid 3After various iterations and special editions of the original Droid, a worthy successor has finally arrived! The third Droid to hail from the halls of Motorola — smartly named Droid 3 — hosts several new hardware improvements over the older models. Whereas the Droid 2‘s CPU was based on the same ARM Cortex A8 core as the original Droid, the third generation features a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPU — a proper processor upgrade. Other notable improvements include an 8MP rear camera, all-new front camera, 5-row staggered keyboard, and 4″ qHD display.

And yet even with all the techno upgrades, Motorola paid no attention to the repairability of the Droid 3. You still have to take apart the whole phone in order to access the display and glass, a procedure hampered by Torx screws and glue that are used to hold everything together. Consequently, the Droid 3 received a mid-pack 6 out of 10 repairability score, having been given some brownie points for an easily-replaceable battery and for a straightforward (albeit time-consuming) disassembly process.

Teardown highlights:

  • Whoa! This Droid has a SIM card! A lack of SIM cards in earlier Droids severely hampered international use of Verizon’s network. This SIM enables the Droid 3 to be used almost anywhere in the world.
  • Although now you’re free to roam about the world with your Droid, a very attention-grabbing informational card included with the phone indicates that roaming data charges might be as high as $20.48 per MB!
  • Motorola likes to hide screws and latches beneath labels, making opening the phone a rather sticky affair.
  • The speaker assembly uses pressure contacts to transmit data to both the speaker and the antenna. Interestingly, a hole through the motherboard allows sound to pass through for better transmission to the outside of the phone.
  • We like the offset keys on the Droid 3’s new 5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but the keys feel cheaper in quality than the original keyboard.
  • As with its predecessors, the display assembly in this Droid is very difficult to access. You have to take apart the whole phone (including peeling off the keyboard) if you want to change your broken display.
  • An Atmel MXT224E capacitive touchscreen controller can be found within the front panel — the same chip found on several other electronic gadgets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
  • The main ICs on the front side of the motherboard include:
    • Qualcomm MDM6600 supporting HSPA+ speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps
    • SanDisk SDIN4C2 16GB MLC NAND flash
    • Elpida B4064B2PB-8D-F 512MB RAM
    • TI OMAP 4430 CPU (hidden underneath the Elpida RAM)
    • Triquint TQM7M5013 Linear Power Amplifier
    • Kionix KXTF9 11425 1411 three-axis accelerometer
    • Qualcomm PM8028 chip that works in conjunction with the Qualcomm MDM6600 to provide wireless data connection
    • Hynix H8BCS0QG0MMR memory MCP containing Hynix DRAM and STM flash
Removing the back cover from the Motorola Droid 3
Taking off the back cover
Motorola Droid 3 teardown
Final layout