Samsung’s latest flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, costs $244 to make, a preliminary virtual tear-down by IHS reveals. The research firm estimates that the build of materials cost $236 with an additional cost of $8.50 to manufacture and assemble the smartphone. This is 15 percent or $30.40 higher than the equivalent version (16GB HSPA+) of the Galaxy S III.
The higher cost in build of materials is being attributed to a larger and higher resolution display, an array of new sensors and Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa processor. “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. “Reaching a true pixel density greater than 300 ppi has been a challenge for AMOLED display makers. However, Samsung was able to enhance AMOLED display performance by implementing new technologies that also drove up the cost of the display.”
The cost of the Galaxy S 4’s Octa processor with ARM’s new big.LITTLE architecture is estimated at $30.00, compared to $17.50 for the chip in the Galaxy S III. The Galaxy S 4 also has new humidity and temperature sensors along with an IR gesture sensor, which drove the sensor subsystem price up from $12.70 to approximately $16, the research outfit claims.
The big story here, however, is most of crucial and expensive components that go into the Galaxy S 4 have been manufactured by Samsung itself, which is one of the biggest advantages the Korean electronics giant has over its rivals, including Apple and HTC. Samsung manufactures the display and touchscreen module, NAND memory, processor and power management integrated circuit that gives the manufacturer flexibility in terms of component availability and customization. This gives Samsung an significant edge over HTC, which is struggling with component availability for its flagship One smartphone, which is reported to have been delayed and has now been pushed back to end-March and even April for most markets.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy S 4 across the world starting from the last week of April.