Teardown finds Samsung Galaxy S4 more costly to build than Apple's iPhone 5

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An analysis of parts found inside Samsung's new Galaxy S4 has concluded the flagship smartphone is more costly to build than Apple's iPhone 5, with a price tag of $237 for the 16-gigabyte model.

iSuppli


The analysis conducted by IHS iSuppli found a great deal of difference between the U.S. and Korean versions of the Galaxy S4. Their estimates found that the AT&T version is cheaper, at $237, than the $252 model built for Korea, when the cost of parts and manufacturing are combined.

The biggest difference in cost comes from the processor: The AT&T model features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core CPU that is estimated at $20, while the Korean model has a $28 Samsung Exynos 5 Octa.

The costs compare to an estimated total bill of $207 for parts and manufacturing of Apple's 16-gigabyte iPhone 5. The two competing handsets are priced comparably with carrier contract subsidies, suggesting that Apple makes greater profit margins on the iPhone 5 than Samsung does with the Galaxy S4.

Of course, these estimated values do not include the money invested in research and development of both hardware and software. The teardowns represent only the component prices and costs to assemble the devices.

Galaxy S4


The most expensive part of the Galaxy S4 is the 5-inch touchscreen display, which is estimated to have a $75 price tag. The Super AMOLED screen features a 441-pixel-per-inch density and is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3.

Other part estimates include the 13-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front cameras ($18), 16 gigabytes of storage ($28), power management components ($9), and various sensors ($18).

The total bill of materials cost for the U.S. AT&T version is $229, while the Korean version costs $244. Both have an estimated manufacturing cost of $8.50, which brings them to their respective final costs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43


    Interesting. I wonder how accurate the pricing for parts is, especially considering how Apple has such a terrific supply chain, where they can pretty much dictate what they're willing to pay...

  • Reply 2 of 43
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,995member
    What a hilarious comparison. Build materials and manufacturing complexity aren't even taken into account. All that is compared are the internals of a hardware product that was released 6 months ago to one released TODAY, and concluding that the newer components cost more. Wow, my mind is blown.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1) This is iSuppli.

    2) Even if we believe iSuppli has a [I]decent[/I] idea of Apple and Samsung's BoMs there would be enough margin for error to show that they'll all pretty much the same.

    3) The only think I think we can say for certain by looking at this figures is that the Korean S4 costs a little more than the US AT&T S4.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    "Of course, these estimated values do not include the money invested in research and development of both hardware and software. The teardowns represent only the component prices and costs to assemble the devices."

    Because we all know how little Samsung spends on R&D. They've already saved billions copying the original iPhone design...
  • Reply 5 of 43
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post


    Interesting. I wonder how accurate the pricing for parts is, especially considering how Apple has such a terrific supply chain, where they can pretty much dictate what they're willing to pay...



    Let me put this way, iSupply pricing is completely wrong, it is a guess at best and I am not even sure how they come up with their pricing. In some cases I know the market pricing of parts and their pricing has never been right on they are either high or low and I am not talking about a small amount, ti seen their spreads very as much as 20%.


     


    They my come close in the total price is some guesses are low and other are high so it averages out. Also with Samsung, they are assume they pay market pricing for part they buy from other Samsung business, that may not always be true.

  • Reply 6 of 43
    larryalarrya Posts: 489member
    I wonder if the octa core version is as laggy as the quad core.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    larrya wrote: »
    I wonder if the octa core version is as laggy as the quad core.

    Since only 4 cores are ever working at once I'd think that would depend on which on which of the 4 of 8 cores are engaged.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,329member


    I believe the cost difference is mostly attributable to the authentic plastic shell of the S4.


    Plus it costs good hard cash to manufacture an OLED display with pentiles instead of pixels and poor color accuracy.

  • Reply 9 of 43
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    larrya wrote: »
    I wonder if the octa core version is as laggy as the quad core.

    I think it is safe to say that they aren't using an octo-core chipset to contain costs. I think it is also safe to say that if they could cram a dodeca-core chipset in a smartphone they would; after all their competitors already cram dodeca-core chipsets in tablets (which still doesn't resolve the performance issues).
  • Reply 10 of 43
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    An analysis of parts found inside Samsung's new Galaxy S4 has concluded the flagship smartphone is more costly to build than Apple's iPhone 5, with a price tag of $237 for the 16-gigabyte model.


     


    16 gigabyte???


     


    Don't you mean the 8?


     


     



     


    /s

  • Reply 11 of 43
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    "...values do not include the money invested in research and development of both hardware and software."

    Samsung should use an off-the-shelf, ready-to-use OS to save money, instead of having to build an OS from scratch.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    I believe the cost difference is mostly attributable to the authentic plastic shell of the S4.


    Plus it costs good hard cash to manufacture an OLED display with pentiles instead of pixels and poor color accuracy.



    Not to mention all the expense of copying ideas from others, as opposed to the relatively inexpensive process of inventing it all yourself!

  • Reply 13 of 43
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    If they don't have Tim Cook, and Apple's small-model-range economies of scale, they certainly ought to be more expensive! Even as cheap as they feel.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    neo42neo42 Posts: 287member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    I believe the cost difference is mostly attributable to the authentic plastic shell of the S4.


    Plus it costs good hard cash to manufacture an OLED display with pentiles instead of pixels and poor color accuracy.



     


    Hate on brother, hate on.  We'll ignore that reviewers seem to love the screen despite the pentile and.. uhm.. blacker than black blacks.

  • Reply 15 of 43
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,621member
    "...values do not include the money invested in research and development of both hardware and software."

    Samsung should use an off-the-shelf, ready-to-use OS to save money, instead of having to build an OS from scratch.
    They do, but add a bunch of unwanted stuff so it is 8 gb vs 14.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Of course, these estimated values do not include the money invested in research and development of both hardware and software. The teardowns represent only the component prices and costs to assemble the devices..

    Apple: $4 billion in R&D costs
    Samsung: $3.75 in copies at Kinkos.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member


    yeah, what this neglected to mention was that iSuppli found that most of those parts are coming from Samsung itself - The screen, ram, camera module are all made by Samsung - they are basically their own supply chain, so Most of that cost goes right back to Samsung.

  • Reply 18 of 43
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    agramonte wrote: »
    yeah, what this neglected to mention was that iSuppli found that most of those parts are coming from Samsung itself - The screen, ram, camera module are all made by Samsung - they are basically their own supply chain, so Most of that cost goes right back to Samsung.

    I thought the camera came from Sony, straight out of the Experia line.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,474member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post


    yeah, what this neglected to mention was that iSuppli found that most of those parts are coming from Samsung itself - The screen, ram, camera module are all made by Samsung - they are basically their own supply chain, so Most of that cost goes right back to Samsung.



    The glass and the display too?

  • Reply 20 of 43
    agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    The glass and the display too?



    not the glass... the display yes.

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