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Playing spot the difference with Galaxy S4 Korean, US versions

Posted: 13 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone? big-little? BOM? processor?

On the outside, the U.S. and South Korean versions of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S4 smartphone look alike. But on the inside, there are major differences in key components!including the apps processor, the wireless subsystem and the user interface. All of these variations, according to IHS iSuppli's Teardown Analysis, result in significant differences in both capabilities as well as pricing of the two versions.

The U.S. version of the Galaxy S4 with 16GB of NAND flash memory carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $229.00, which rises to $237.00 when the manufacturing cost is added. The Korean edition with the same memory configuration has a BOM of $244.00 and a combined manufacturing and component cost of $252.00.

Samsung S4 versions comparison

Source: IHS iSuppli, May 2013. Click on image to enlarge.

"With at least four different known incarnations of the Galaxy S4, Samsung is demonstrating its strategy of offering a mobile product that has appealing features and pricing!and then adapting the device to suit the tastes of varying markets or regions," said Vincent Leung, senior analyst, teardown services, for IHS. "This approach is in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all philosophy used by Apple Inc., Samsung's primary competitor in the wireless space. While the Korean and U.S. versions of the S4 look pretty much the same and have in terms of their core electronics many same core features!such as the enclosure, display, camera and battery the products are as different from each other as kimchee and coleslaw."

Battle of the processors
One of the biggest differences between the two versions of the Galaxy S4 is the apps processor.

The U.S. version offered by AT&T employs the Qualcomm Inc. Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, costing $20.00. The Korean variation!as well as some other international versions!integrates Samsung's own Octacore Exynos 5 processor, an eight-core device that costs $8.00 more at $28.00. (See also Samsung Galaxy S4 dissected)

The Octacore Exynos 5 enables some unique, processor-intensive applications that are not possible with the Snapdragon processor. These include eye-movement recognition, which allows a user to pause a video simply by looking away from the S4 display.

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