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Galaxy S4 BoM higher than predecessor

Posted: 22 Mar 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:S4? teardown? Galaxy S4 BoM? NAND? HD display?

IHS iSuppli has conducted a teardown of the much awaited HSPA+ version of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd's Galaxy S4 smartphone. The market research firm noted that the S4 has a significantly higher bill of materials of $236 compared to its predecessor.

The S4 BoM is $30.40 higher than the BoM for the equivalent version of the Galaxy S3, said IHS, which conducted a teardown of the S3 in September 2012. The S4 BoM is 15 per cent higher. An advanced display included in the S4 makes up much of the difference, IHS said.

Vincent Leung, senior analyst for cost benchmarking at IHS, said through a statement that the S4 features largely the same hardware as the S3, but that some components were updated to enhance functionality, thereby increasing the BoM cost.

"Among the upgrades are a larger, full high-definition (HD) display; a beefed-up Samsung processor; and a wealth of new sensors that set a record high for the number of such devices in a smartphone design," Leung said. "And despite the larger display and other changes, the Galaxy S4 has roughly the same width and the same ease of handling as the Galaxy S III."

Total cost to produce the HSPA+ S4 with 16GB of NAND flash memory is roughly $244, including $8.50 for manufacturing costs, IHS said.

IHS said it conducted the virtual teardown of the S4 from information and device specifications released by Samsung, combined with information regarding known components and suppliers.

Galaxy S4 BoM

Preliminary Samsung Galaxy S4 virtual teardown BoM estimates (Pricing in U.S. Dollars) Source: IHS iSuppli Research, March 2013
Click on image to enlarge

The S4 features a full-HD active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display from Samsung Display with a pixel format of 1,920 by 1,080, IHS said. This compares to the 1,280 by 720 WXGA resolution display in the S3, the firm said.

The S4's HD display and touch-screen subsystem is estimated to carry a cost of $75, up from $65 for the S3, IHS said. This represents the single largest area of cost increase for the S4 compared to the S III, according to IHS.

"While many brands have released smartphone models using full-HD LCD displays, the S4 represents the first with an AMOLED display at this resolution," said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for small & medium displays at IHS

Samsung is believed to be using an Exynos 5 Octa applications processor in the HSPA+ version of the S4, IHS said. The device is an eight-core chip manufactured with Samsung's on 28nm process technology.

The Galaxy S III featured a quad-core Exynos apps processor. The cost of the Galaxy S4's processor is estimated at $30, compared to $17.50 for the chip in the Galaxy S3, IHS said.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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