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$318. Or so the research and teardown experts at iSupply have found that to be the approximate number. If you break down the device and look at the materials as they are ordered, piece by piece, we can get a good idea at the total price for HP to even produce one of these new tablet devices. At a $318 pricetag for the 32GB TouchPad, the device only gets a return of about $281. Out of that HP still has a number of other companies along the sales chain that they'll need to pay out (the stores, shipping companies, advertisments, etc..) and as iSupply points out, "the teardown costs account only for hardware and manufacturing and do not include other expenses such as software, royalties and licensing fees." So the amount that HP actually makes on the device we can't entirely be sure of yet, but we know it's not a whole lot.

More than just telling us the cost of the device, seeing the numbers broken down like this can give us some insight into the reason for various design decisions, as well. If we compare the TouchPad cost to the iPad 2, you see some very interesting differences. While the iPad 2 is estimated to cost Apple a bit more to produce ($326 for the 32GB CDMA model) than the TouchPad does for HP, Apple very simply gets higher quality materials at a lower cost than HP can, meaning that Apple can afford to buy those exotic materials right now, while HP is just beginning to get their feet wet in tablet tech. There's a good reason for that, though, as our sister-site TiPB points out in a recent piece, "How Apple stays years ahead of the competition", and it will only take time before HP is able to get into a good flow with developing these devices that we might start to see the same pattern.

The materials that make up the TouchPad right now aren't necessarily bad (by any means), but there's definitely a need to continue improvement as the months push forward. iSupply says that one major shortcoming of the TouchPad, its weight and thickness, could actually be an advantage in the future. While the product makeup of the TouchPad does make it larger than the iPad 2, thus less desirable to consumers, that design choice also gives HP much greater freedom with the development of future devices. Apple is stuck in a battle to try and find materials that make their devices thinner or more exotic, meanwhile HP has plenty of playroom to enhance future models of the TouchPad to be more powerful and user-friendly, and to push out more tablet devices at a faster rate.

Click through the break below to see the full tablet with the bill of materials for the HP TouchPad. We've included the same tablet for the iPad 2 as well, for those of you that are curious, so you can do some of your own comparison shopping.

HP TouchPad Bill of Materials

HP TouchPad Bill of Materials

iPad 2 Bill of Materials

iPad 2