SAN FRANCISCO—No sooner did Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, hit store shelves than it was being pulled apart and analyzed by the surprising number of people who do that for a living.
Teardown analyses found that the smartphone features chips from Qualcomm Inc., SK Hynix Inc., STMicroelectronics NV, Integrated Device Technology Inc. (IDT), Sony Corp., Knowles Corp. and others, as well as, of course, internally made Samsung chips.
The preliminary teardown analysis performed by IHS Inc. concluded that the bill of materials (BOM) of the Galaxy S7 with 32GB of NAND totals roughly $249.55. The firm estimates that adding manufacturing costs to the device increases the total to $255.05.
The Galaxy S7 retails for $672 at Verizon, IHS noted. The firm also pointed out for comparison’s sake that Apple Inc.’s 16GB iPhone 6s carries a BOM of $187.91 and retails for $649.
Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services at IHS, said through a statement that the Galaxy S7 offers small refinements over its predecessor. Noting that the BOM is almost $60 more than the comparable iPhone, Rassweiler said the Galaxy 7 “doesn’t hold its price as well” as the Apple product.
“The Galaxy S7 is the upgrade Samsung had to do, but there’s not a lot of trailblazing happening on the device,” Rassweiler said.
The Galaxy S7 features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, which IHS said offers operational improvements over the S6’s Snapdragon 810. The firm said the new chipset offers better power efficiency, faster battery charging and includes a speedier data bus that supports LPDDR4 memory with a capacity up to 4GB—the highest density to date in a smartphone. The chipset costs an estimated $62, giving Qualcomm one of the largest components supplier footprints in the S7 BOM, IHS said.
IHS estimated the 32GB of Samsung’s NAND flash memory found on the S7 cost about $7.25. The LPDDR4 4GB package-on-package DRAM from SK Hynix cots an estimated $25, the firm said.
IHS noted that the S7’s primary camera module is capable of only 12-megapixel performance, a step down from the 16MP camera offered in the S6. But IHS said Samsung included technology improvements that deliver better overall camera performance.
“Going backwards from 16 megapixels to 12 megapixels buys Samsung larger pixel sizes for better low-light performance,” said Wayne Lam, principal analyst for mobile devices and networks at IHS. Lam added that “the S7 boasts arguably the best camera on the market right now.”
According to a separate teardown done by Chipworks (Ottawa, Canada), the Galaxy S7’s camera module features a new stacked chip CMOS image sensor from Sony, identified as the IMX260. This represents the first known direct bond interconnect chip to be used in a high-volume application, Chipworks said.
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