IHS iSuppli breaks down the hot new gadget.
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 permutations result in significant variations in the capabilities and pricing of the two versions of the two smartphones—as revealed by a physical dissection of the devices conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service.
The U.S. version of the Galaxy S4 with 16 gigabytes (GByte) 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, as presented in Table 1 attached.
“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.”