El Segundo, Calif. — The latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone comes with new features and a higher cost thanks to the S5’s discrete-intensive design, according to IHS Technology. The Samsung Galaxy S5 with 32 Gigabytes of NAND flash memory carries a BOM of $251.52, according to a preliminary estimate by the Teardown Mobile Handsets Intelligence Service. When IHS adds the manufacturing cost of $5.00, the cost rises to $256.52.
IHS analysts said the S5 is more expensive than other high-end smartphones, including the 32 GByte iPhone 5S, which has a $207.00 BOM based on an IHS pricing estimate in September. “The high cost of the S5 is becoming more typical of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director, cost benchmarking services for IHS, in a statement. “In the last year, IHS has torn down four Galaxy devices with BOMs ranging from $237.00 to $280.00.
The assessment finds a few modified component selections in the S5. These include the Qualcomm Inc. WTR1625 radio frequency (RF) transceiver as a replacement for the WTR1605L found in previous Galaxy products, and a new version of the NXP near-field communication (NFC) controller that’s different from the NXP PN5441, PN547 and PN65N devices found in other Samsung teardowns.
The S5 also uses the ES704 noise suppression device from Audience Semiconductor, compared to the eS305B and eS325 found in several other recent Samsung devices, and a Qualcomm PMC8974 power management chip, which IHS said it has never seen in an electronic design.
Other changes include the first use of 802.11ac Wi-Fi with multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology in a Galaxy design. IHS can’t confirm the supplier of the MIMO Wi-Fi module and related silicon but believes it’s a Broadcom solution.
A big cost factor in the S5 is the core processor, the Qualcomm MSM8974AC, said IHS. The AC version uses the newer Snapdragon 801 processor, which features a faster clock speed, at 2.5 GHz, compared to 2.3 GHz in the MSM8974 with the Snapdragon 800. The estimated cost for the chip is $41.00. Although the cost seems high it combines the functionality of two previously separate chips – the core applications processor and wireless semiconductor, which reduces manufacturing cost and saves board space, said IHS.
However, there is some speculation about the use of a Samsung Exynos processor in another variant of the Samsung S5, noted IHS. This is similar to the Galaxy S4, which used a Samsung Exynos 5410 processor or Qualcomm APQ8064AC processor, depending on the version.
A big change to the S5 is the addition of many more sensors. In addition to typical sensors found in a smartphone design, including an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, the S5 features all of those plus a barometric pressure sensor, and fingerprint and pulse sensors. It’s the first time Samsung has used a fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy products, according to IHS. Sensor manufacturers include Maxim, InvenSense, Asahi Kasei Microelectronics, and STMicroelectronics.
The S5 torn down by IHS was sold in the South Korean market and included a television receiver—the FC8080 T-DMB tuner/demodulator from Silicon Motion, which is unlikely to be incorporated in the U.S. version, said IHS. Other minor modifications for versions sold by AT&T, Verizon and other carriers are expected.