Though late to the game, HP’s TouchPad finally touched down at retail stores in July. So, I wasn’t surprised to see IHS iSuppli conduct a teardown analysis shortly after.

According to IHS iSuppli, the 32-Gbyte version carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $318 plus a $10 manufacturing cost for a total of $328 with a retail selling price of $599. But before we get to the teardown, let’s talk about the software.

The TouchPad uses webOS as its operating system, which is derived from the Palm OS developed by Palm Inc., a company that HP acquired last year for $1.8 billion. This brings yet another tablet operating system (OS) into the mix.

IHS iSuppli thinks the TouchPad really stands apart from all the media-tablet competition on the software side. According to its report, “as it faces off against the iPad and a sea of Android-based alternatives, webOS provides the clearest point of differentiation for HP’s TouchPad.” If HP is to succeed in the tablet market, users will have to agree that webOS is a major benefit.

THE TEARDOWN

The heart of the TouchPad is Qualcomm’s APQ8060 dual-core microprocessor, operating at 1.5 GHz. With a $20 price tag, it accounts for 6.3% of the BOM. The APQ8060 is built on a 45-nm process technology and is a member of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family of mobile processors. It includes two Qualcomm Scorpion cores, which are based on the ARM 7 instruction set. The processor also includes Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics processing unit (GPU).

There’s a significant difference between Apple, which produces its own ARM-based processor, and HP and most of the other competitors, which rely on a third party for their processors. I think Apple has a strong edge in this department.

The TouchPad’s display appears to be the same as the one in the first-generation iPad: a 9.7-in., 1024- by 768-pixel resolution LCD that employs in-place switching (IPS) technology. The display is supplied by LG Display Co. Ltd. and costs $69. The display subsystem is the most expensive portion of the TouchPad design, accounting for 21.7% of the 32-Gbyte version’s total.

The capacitive, glass-on-glass touchscreen assembly is the next most costly subsystem at $63.50, or 20% of the BOM. IHS iSuppli could not identify the touchscreen assembly supplier via teardown analysis, but it believes Wintek Corp. and TPK Holding Co. Ltd., both based in Taiwan, are two likely sources.

MEMORY AND POWER

Next in cost is the NAND flash memory, priced at $45 for the 32-Gbyte version and representing 14.1% of the BOM. The NAND is used to store data such as apps, video, audio, and images. San-Disk supplied the NAND parts, which are based on the company’s semi-proprietary iNAND standard, for the TouchPad torn down by IHS iSuppli.

The mechanical/electromechanical subsystem is the fourth most expensive portion of the TouchPad, costing $30, or 9.4% of the BOM.

Samsung Electronics’ mobile DRAM costs $26, or 8.2% of the BOM. The TouchPad’s 8 Gbits of mobile DDR2 DRAM essentially doubles the 4 Gbits typically used in other tablets.

Powering the TouchPad is a battery pack priced at $19.40, accounting for 6.1% of the BOM. The TouchPad uses a two-cell lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery from Amperex Technology Ltd. like Apple’s first-generation iPad, while the slimmer iPad 2 has three thinner cells instead of two thicker ones.

HP gives you two ways to charge the TouchPad. Users can connect it to a wired charger, but there is also an inductive loop or coil mounted in the rear of the enclosure for wireless battery recharging.

The system, dubbed Touchstone, recharges the battery when the TouchPad is placed on top of an inductive charger. Although the TouchPad is prewired for this feature, it requires an optional Touchstone charger to make it work. Touchstone previously was used in the Palm Pre smart phone.

The power-management subsystem for the TouchPad costs $12.50, or 3.9% of the total BOM. The system features six major integrated circuits supplied by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Maxim Integrated Products. I’ll spare you the details of all these chips, but they can be found at www.isuppli.com, along with the remaining parts of the teardown.