Exploding BOM for Samsung Galaxy S4

Exploding BOM for Samsung Galaxy S4

20 MAR 2013

The HSPA+ version of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone carries a much higher bill of materials (BOM) than both its predecessor and Apple’s iPhone 5.

According to analytics company IHS iSuppli, the HSPA+ 16GB version of the new Samsung device has a BOM of $236. Add in the manufacturing costs and it rises to $244. That’s 15 per cent higher than the Galaxy Samsung III and 18 per cent more than the 16GB iPhone 5.

The higher BOM costs, say IHS, are due to major upgrades in the display, sensors and application processor, as well as the supporting memory.

The BOM conclusions are drawn from a virtual teardown conducted by the analytics company. They are based on a combination of information and device specifications released by Samsung, along with information regarding known components and suppliers.

“Although its hardware is not radically different from the Galaxy S III introduced in April 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S4 includes some critical component updates that enhance its functionality as well as its BOM cost,” said Vincent Leung, senior analyst for cost benchmarking at IHS.

“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. 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.”

The S4’s HD display and touchscreen subsystem is estimated to carry a cost of $75, up from $65 for the S III. This represents the single largest area of cost increase for the S4 compared to the S III.

IHS estimates that Samsung accounts for at least $149 worth of component content in the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy S4, which represents 63 per cent of the total BOM.

Intel is believed to be the supplier of the baseband processor and RF transceiver in the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy S4 (as it was for Galaxy S III), while Broadcom, says IHS, is the likely source for the wireless LAN/Bluetooth/FM/GPS subsystem and the GPS/GLONASS section in the non-Qualcomm variant of the Galaxy S4.

IHS emphasised that the BOM estimates are preliminary until it does a physical teardown of the device.

Author

Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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