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Samsung Galaxy Tab Cheaper Than iPad To Make

An iSuppli teardown analysis finds that Samsung's Galaxy Tab is more of a large-scale Galaxy S smartphone, than a challenger to the Apple iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Tab
(click image for larger view)
Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung Electronics has built its Galaxy Tab with features and components that make it more like a large-scale smartphone than a true competitor to the Apple iPad, which is considerably more expensive to make, a research firm says.

The Galaxy Tab carries a build of materials of $205.22, significantly less than the $264.27 BOM for the 16 GB 3G version of the iPad, iSuppli said Monday in its teardown analysis of the Galaxy. iSuppli had made a similar teardown of the iPad earlier in the year.

iSuppli analyst Andrew Rassweiler said that Samsung apparently didn't try to match the iPad on a feature-by-feature basis, but chose instead to make the Galaxy Tab a larger version of the Galaxy S smartphone.

"While the design approach makes the Galaxy less expensive to produce than the iPad 3G, it also makes for a product that lacks the same usability," Rassweiler said in a statement. "The Galaxy Tab's screen resolution, size and technology are not at the same level as the iPad. This is a critical difference, given the fact that the display is a key differentiating factor for the iPad."

The Galaxy uses a 7-inch TFT-LCD display with a resolution of 1,024 by 600 pixels. The iPad uses a larger 9.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels. In addition, Apples has added in-plane switching (IPS) technology that widens the viewing angle and improves the picture quality.

However, iSuppli found some features in the Galaxy that are not in the iPad. For example, the Galaxy includes a gyroscopic micro-electromechanical systems sensor, likely for use in gaming. Also, the Galaxy comes with a 3 megapixel auto-focus camera along with a 1.3 MP front-facing or video-conferencing camera. Finally, the Samsung tablet has built-in support for Adobe Flash, which provides more universal web browsing than the Flash-less iPad.

When the manufacturing cost of $9.35 is added to the Galaxy, than the combined materials and production cost of the device is $214.57, iSuppli said.

In comparing the Galaxy Tab with the Galaxy S, iSuppli found that both devices feature a Samsung-branded Hummingbird 1 GHz Arm-based applications processor and an Infineon Technologies baseband processor that controls the wireless telephony and communication portion of the design. The Tab is functional cell phone as well as a tablet-computing device, running 3G in three frequency bands, iSuppli said.

The most expensive component of the Galaxy Tab is the display and the touch-screen subsystem, which costs $57, which 27.8% of the total BOM. The display and touch subsystem in the iPad is $98. Samsung uses its own mobile display in the Tab.

The second most expensive component is the 16 GB NAND flash memory subsystem from San Disk, which costs $51, or 24.9% of the BOM. Third are the numerous mechanical and electromechanical components that represent the third most expensive electronic subsystem at a cost of $15.22, or 7.4% of the BOM.


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