Galaxy S9+ Innards Reveal Costly Kit

Article By : Dylan McGrath, EE Times

Bill of materials higher than previous flagships, AMOLED display alone comes in at $79 USD

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S9+ smartphone carriers an estimated bill of materials (BoM) cost about 13 percent above that of its predecessor, the Galaxy S8+, thanks to increased costs for DRAM and NAND flash memory and the smartphone’s upgraded dual-lense mechanical aperture camera module, according to to a teardown analysis performed by IHSMarkit.  

The BoM cost of the Galaxy S9+ is about $375.80, about $43 more than the Galaxy S8+, according to IHS Markit. An unlocked, 64GB version of the Galaxy S9+ retails for $839.99 on Samsung’s website.  

“Despite the higher cost structure for Samsung, the Galaxy S9+ offers consumers better specs at about the same price point as the Galaxy S8+, including a brighter screen and advanced camera technology,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS Markit, in a press statement.

IHS Markit also found that the Galaxy S9+ is among the first smartphones to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, which contains an LTE CAT18 modem.

“The Galaxy S9+ and the Sony Xperia XZ2 are the first smartphones to use Snapdragon 845,” said Wayne Lam, principal analyst for smartphone electronics at IHS Markit. “However, Samsung designed its own RF front-end interface, whereas the Sony model uses Qualcomm’s RF360 solution.”

The Snapdragon 845 accommodates peak LTE speeds up to 1.2 gigabits per second (6 carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO support), according to IHS Markit. The device is built in second-generation 10nm from Samsung Foundry and the complete bundled chipset including supporting components from Qualcomm is estimated to cost $67, IHS Markit said.

Samsung Galaxy S9 exploded

The Galaxy S9+'s 12-megapixel dual-lens camera includes the first variable-aperture system built into a smartphone, according to IHS Markit. The combined BoM cost for the smartphone's camera modules is $44.95, of which $34.95 is from the new primary camera, the research firm said.

“The extraordinary primary camera module in the Galaxy S9+ costs much more to manufacture than most camera modules we have priced in the past,” Rassweiler said. “Camera technology improvements continue to be a primary budget focus and performance differentiator for smartphone manufacturers.”

The IHSMarkit teardown of the Galaxy s9+ also uncovered security feature upgrades, including a new “Intelligent Scan” mode for unlocking the handset. The teardown also revealed that the Galaxy S9+’s upgraded AMOLED display carries a BoM cost of $79, the highest cost of any component of the device.  

Samsung Galaxy S9 overview

IHSMarkit has not yet performed a teardown analysis of the Galaxy S9+’s companion, the smaller Galaxy S9. A separate teardown performed by System Plus Consulting of France earlier this year found several hardware innovations in the Galaxy S9, despite criticism from analysts and market watchers that the handset is too similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ motherboard

Galaxy S9+ Bill of materials


— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.

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