IHS: Samsung S5 costs more to build than S4 and iPhone 5s

Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, costs around $12 (€8.67) more to make than the vendor's S4 smartphone, and nearly $50 more than rival Apple's iPhone 5s, research by IHS shows.

A teardown of Samsung's latest high-end smartphone reveals a total bill of materials (BoM) of $251.52, which rises to $256.62 when manufacturing costs are included. The figure compares to a BoM of $236 and total cost of $244 for the Galaxy S4, and $191/$199 for Apple's flagship iPhone 5s model.

IHS notes the higher cost of the Galaxy S5 is mostly due to incremental improvements in its components. Among the upgrades featured in the new model are a new radio transceiver, a new version of the NXP near field communication controller, and a Qualcomm PMC8897 power management chip that IHS analysts said they have not seen in an electronic design before.

The research company also said Samsung has eclipsed other smartphones in terms of the number of sensors included in the Galaxy S5. The South Korean vendor sports a barometric pressure sensor, fingerprint sensor, and heart rate monitor in addition to more common sensors including accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, the company noted.

Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS, said the BoM of the Galaxy S5 is typical of other Samsung smartphones. "In the last year, IHS has torn down four Galaxy devices with BoMs ranging from $237 to $280," he noted.

The analyst said Samsung aimed for evolution, rather than revolution, with its latest flagship model. "There's a lot of similarity and commonality between the S5 and other recent Samsung smartphones IHS has torn down, such as the Galaxy Round and the Note III," Rassweiler said.

Details of the cost of the Galaxy S5 emerged as a Samsung executive predicted the device will outsell its predecessor.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 on Friday, and Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of product strategy at Samsung, told Reuters it is already selling faster than the previous Galaxy S4 model.

While Yoon would not say how many S5s the company expects to sell, he said the latest model should beat the 10 million S4s sold in the first month that unit was available.

Samsung has cut the retail price of the S5 and is offering incentives worth hundreds of dollars to ensure strong sales, Reuters reported.

For more:
- see IHS' Galaxy S5 teardown release
- see the company's iPhone 5S analysis
- see this Galaxy S4 teardown announcement
- see this Reuters article

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Smartphone data consumption almost doubles in 2013
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