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Galaxy S4 Korea, US versions: What's the difference?

Posted: 13 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Galaxy S4  IHS  teardown analysis  Silicon Motion Mobile TV 

Samsung Electronics is offering two different versions of its Galaxy S4 smartphone for its South Korean and U.S. markets. These two versions look the same on the outside but they key components inside are a different story. According to a teardown conducted by IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service, the permutations of the versions in their apps processor, wireless sub-system, and user interface results in significant differences in the capabilities and pricing of the Korean and U.S. S4 versions.

The U.S. version of the Galaxy S4 with 16GB of NAND flash memory carries a bill of materials (BOM) of Rs.12,445.65 ($229), which rises to Rs.12,880.43 ($237) when the manufacturing cost is added. The Korean edition with the same memory configuration has a BOM of Rs.13,260.87 ($244) and a combined manufacturing and component cost of Rs.13,695.65 ($252).

S4 teardown estimates

Preliminary Samsung Galaxy S4 teardown estimates
Source: IHS Inc., May 2013

"With at least four different known incarnations of the Galaxy S4, Samsung is demonstrating its strategy of offering a mobile product that has appealing features and pricing—and then adapting the device to suit the tastes of varying markets or regions," said Vincent Leung, senior analyst, teardown services, for IHS. "This approach is in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all philosophy used by Apple Inc., Samsung's primary competitor in the wireless space. While the Korean and U.S. versions of the S4 look pretty much the same and have in terms of their core electronics many same core features—such as the enclosure, display, camera and battery—the products are as different from each other as kimchee and coleslaw."

Processor permutations
One of the biggest differences between the two versions of the Galaxy S4 is the apps processor.

The U.S. version offered by AT&T employs the Qualcomm Inc. Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, costing $20.00. The Korean variation—as well as some other international versions—integrates Samsung's own Octacore Exynos 5 processor, an eight-core device that costs Rs.434.78 ($8) more at Rs.1,521.74 ($28).

The Octacore Exynos 5 enables some unique, processor-intensive applications that are not possible with the Snapdragon processor. These include eye-movement recognition, which allows a user to pause a video simply by looking away from the S4 display.

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