(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by IHS and received via electronic mail. The release was
confirmed by the sender.)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Carries $236 Bill of Materials, IHS iSuppli
Virtual Teardown Reveals
El Segundo, Calif. (March 19, 2013)--The HSPA+ version of
Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S4 smartphone carries a $236 bill of
materials (BOM), up significantly from last year’s model--the
Galaxy S III--due to major upgrades in the display, sensors and
application processor and supporting memory, according to a
virtual teardown conducted by the IHS iSuppli Mobile Handset
Cost Model Service at information and analytics provider IHS
The HSPA+ S4 with 16 gigabytes of NAND flash memory costs
$244.00 when the $8.50 manufacturing cost is added in, as
presented in the attached table. The BOM of the HSPA+ version of
the S4 is $30.40 higher than for the equivalent version of the
Galaxy S III, a 15 percent increase. The Galaxy S III pricing
analysis was performed by IHS in September 2012.
This virtual teardown and pricing estimation was derived from
information and device specifications released by Samsung,
combined with information regarding known components and
suppliers. The information presented is preliminary and subject
to change, pending IHS’s actual physical teardown of the device.
“Although its hardware is not radically different from the
Galaxy S III introduced in April of 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 employs a full-HD active-matrix organic light-emitting
diode (AMOLED) display from Samsung Display with a pixel format
of 1,920 by 1,080. This compares to the 1,280 by 720 WXGA
resolution display in the S III.
The S4’s HD display and touch-screen subsystem is estimated to
carry a cost of $75.00, up from $65.00 for the S III. This
represents the single largest area of cost increase for the S4
compared to the S III.
“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
Apps processor beefs up its cores
For the apps processor in the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy S4,
Samsung is believed to be employing an Exynos 5 Octa solution,
an eight-core chip using its own design, and manufactured with
Samsung’s own 28-nanometer process. This compares to the quad-core Exynos apps processor in the Galaxy S III. The cost of the
Galaxy S4’s processor is estimated at $30.00, compared to $17.50
for the chip in the Galaxy S III.
The Galaxy S4’s eight-core Exynos processor uses ARM’s
big.LITTLE microprocessor architecture. The architecture employs
a hybrid approach generally referred to as heterogeneous
computing, whereby two central processing units (CPUs)--a quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU--are
integrated into the same chip.
“With big.LITTLE, there is a computing and power consumption
tradeoff, in which less computing-intensive tasks, such as phone
calls and social media apps, can be handled by the more power-efficient but slower A7 cores,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst
for wireless communications at IHS. “This allows the bigger,
more powerful and energy-draining A15 cores to remain idle when
they are not needed, preserving battery life. The A15 cores go
into action only for more computing-intensive applications, like
video gaming or decoding video.”
This is a unique approach compared to Nvidia’s 4+1 Tegra setup
or even Qualcomm’s asynchronous Krait-cores in the Snapdragon,
where the processing cores are evenly matched.
The 4G LTE version of the Galaxy S4 employs a different apps
processor and baseband, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, a quad-core
apps processor and LTE radio solution. Samsung had a similar
hardware differentiation with the LTE version of the Galaxy S
III. Given the different apps processors between the Samsung
Exynos-powered S4 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S4,
some variances in the software capabilities and application
performance for the two models are expected. However, that has
yet to be verified by Samsung.
With its emphasis on detecting and adapting to consumer
lifestyles, the Galaxy S4 integrates an array of different
sensors, including the accelerometer, RGB light, geomagnetic,
proximity, gyroscope, barometer, IR gesture and even temperature
and humidity varieties.
The humidity and temperature sensor as well as the IR gesture
sensor are new in the Galaxy S4 compared to the Galaxy S III.
Because of these new capabilities, the user interface and sensor
subsystem of the Galaxy S4 carries an estimated cost of $16.00,
up from $12.70 in the Galaxy S III.
LTE version keeps costs in check
Although the LTE version of the Galaxy S4 employs a more
advanced mobile radio than the HSPA+ version, its total BOM cost
is slightly lower, at $233.00.
The LTE Galaxy S4’s wireless section costs $25.00, higher than
the $16.00 for the HSPA+, because it supports the new 4G LTE air
interface standard as well as up to six global LTE bands.
However, the LTE version keeps expenditures down by using the
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 solution, which costs $20.00. An
additional cost benefit of using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
solution comes from the use of a lower-cost wireless
Samsung makes extensive use of its own internally manufactured
parts in all of its phones, including the Galaxy S4, as
presented in Table 2 attached. The company is believed to supply
the display and touch-screen module, as well as the apps
processor and power management integrated circuit, according to
the preliminary IHS analysis. Samsung also is the primary
supplier of the SDRAM and flash memory, although the company
could employ alternative sources for these commodity parts.
All told, Samsung accounts for at least $149 worth of component
content in the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy S4, representing 63
percent of the total BOM, based on the results of the virtual
Intel and Broadcom too
Intel Corp. is believed to be the supplier of the baseband
processor and RF transceiver in the HSPA+ version of the Galaxy
S4, just as it did for the Galaxy S III. Broadcom 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
For more information, please contact:
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IHS Media Relations
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