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Mobile Devices

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus (SCH-i515) is a slate format, Android 4.0, 4G (LTE) smartphone with a 4.65 inch diagonal Super AMOLED (a Samsung favorite from internal Samsung sources), a 5MP auto focus primary camera module (with LED "flash') and 1MP secondary camera module. Also, the Droid Charge comes with 32GB of internal iNAND NAND flash memory (from SanDisk, surprisingly), and features a modest MCP (128Mb NOR Flash + 64Mb pSRAM) to support the "phone" portion of the design.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Overview 1Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Overview 1
The two standout features here are the display size and the 4G/LTE support, but otherwise looks, feels and performs like so many other Android smartphones with the usual single screen touch interface. As a result of the inherent costliness of LTE currently, the phone itself is also offered, with contract at a higher price point than many other smartphones currently offered (a ~$299 USD price point vs ~$200 price point). In fact, for $299 it's surprising to still see a feature like a 5MP (rather than an 8MP) camera module, but budgetarily something has to give to support LTE and have the nearly 4.7 inch screen diagonal.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is of several LTE phones we have analyzed to date, and this model, carried by Verizon in the US, is just one of Verizon's lineup of LTE phones. The novelty of LTE to us in 2011 is quickly becoming commonplace in 2012. In fact, in 2011 IHS iSuppli's teardowns group suddenly began to see a number of 4G LTE and WiMax handset designs, and the most striking thing about many of them, from a hardware perspective for us, has been the fact that the core silicon has been coming from a whole new host of IC OEMs.

Whereas before, for years, we were used to seeing the same big names in core silicon at the heart of the baseband section, whether it was Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, Infineon, etc. there were certain names we expected to see over and over in different handset OEM's designs - but with these new 4G designs, there are a number of new players showing up in these slots - it's a whole new frontier and chance to mix things up in terms of dominant chip suppliers as phone designs evolve ever forward.

What's also interesting about this Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the fact that, despite many recent Samsung phone designs that leveraged internal Samsung sources to the hilt (display, apps processor, NAND flash and other memory, and even a homegrown LTE chip solution) Samsung has a few less Samsung parts in this phone that the other models which demonstrated an almost religious dedication to total vertical integration.

This phone has a TI OMAP 4460 processor which is a bit of a surprise considering until recently Samsung has slavishly copied the topology of Apple iPhones, and the fact that Samsung has their own "internal" source within Samsung for what one might call their version of the A4 and A5 processors (S5PC110 "Hummingbird" and S5PC210 "Exynos" processors ). And TI wins significant supporting slots as well in the form of power management (TWL6030) and Audio Codec (TWL6040).

Samsung, in the "after iPhone" years, have become adept and able to supply themselves vertically with core applications processors of their own design and manufacture, are now also capable of supplying themselves vertically with their own LTE silicon in the form of the CMC22000 (or in this case CMC21, which incidentally appears to be an evolved version of the CMC22000) processor present in all Samsung LTE designs analyzed to date.

This vertical integration benefits Samsung from a cost and feature point of view, in the same way producing their own S5PCxxxx processors does. In fact, Samsung is the most vertically integrated handset manufacturer out there and supplies, from various Samsung divisions the bulk of the value of their phones, and this foray into core silicon for all their handsets, really makes Samsung the most formidable competitor out there. From displays, to memory, to core silicon, batteries, etc. Samsung controls so much of their designs internally in a way that no one else does.

Furthermore, to make things even more interesting, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (and Droid Charge) eschew the Qulacomm CDMA section that we saw as recently as the Samsung Indulge (also 4G) in favor of relatively new players - VIA Telecom (for the CDMA baseband), and Silicon Motion for the CDMA RF transceiver. It seems that Samsung may wish to seek independence from Qualcomm, or simply find that employing Apple's strategy of working with smaller, more flexible vendors gives them more room to negotiate - but this is speculation.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Display / Touchscreen ModuleSamsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Display / Touchscreen Module

Target Market

General Consumers

Released

Pre-release announcements are from October 2011.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - The Galaxy Nexus currently sells on Verizon for $300 USD ($299.99) with a 2 year new-customer contract.

Availability - North America (LTE, CDMA/PCS/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz))

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have applied a 1 year production volume of approximately 3M units.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (~ 71% of Total Materials Cost)

  • $66.00 - Samsung Mobile Display - AMS465GS01 - Display / Touchscreen Module - Samsung Super AMOLED, 4.65" Diagonal, 16.7M Color AMOLED, 1280 x 720 Pixels, w/ Capacitive Touchscreen - (Qty: 1)
  • $42.00 - Sandisk - SDIN5C2-32G - Flash - iNAND, 32GB, MLC - (Qty: 1)
  • $16.40 - Samsung Semiconductor - K3PE7E700M-XGC1 - SDRAM - Mobile DDR2, 1GB, PoP - (Qty: 1)
  • $15.03 - Texas Instruments - OMAP4460BCBS - Application Processor - TI OMAP4, Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9, 1.5GHz, IVA 3 Hardware Accelerator, SGX540 3D Graphic Core, 1080P 2D/3D, 45nm Process, PoP - (Qty: 1)
  • $11.12 - Samsung Semiconductor - CMC221 - Baseband Processor - LTE - (Qty: 1)
  • $9.94 - Primary Camera Module - 5.1MP, BSI CMOS, 1/4" Format, Auto Focus Lens - (Qty: 1)
  • $9.36 - VIA Telecom - CBP7.1 - Baseband Processor - CDMA2000 1X / EVDO REV A - (Qty: 1)
  • $4.92 - Broadcom - BCM4330XB2KFFBG - Bluetooth / FM / WLAN - IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, FM Radio Transceiver - (Qty: 1)
  • $4.88 - Nptech - EB-L1D7IVZ - Battery - Li-Ion, 3.7V, 1850mAh, w/ Integrated NFC Antenna - (Qty: 1)
  • $0.66 - Maxim - MAX8893CEWV - Power Management IC - (Qty: 1)
  • $0.89 - MAX8996EWZ - - (Qty: 1)
  • $2.61 - Texas Instruments - TWL6030B1A4CMR - (Qty: 1)

Direct Materials $258.16
Direct Materials + Manufacturing $268.27


What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on device markings, we've based our analysis with the final assembly in Korea. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc.) were also sourced in Korea.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as wall power charger), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Primary CameraSamsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Primary Camera

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

The Samsung Droid Charge LTE handset has an overall component count of 1422 (excluding box contents) - as a side note - this about 12% more than the Droid Charge which itself was 20% more than the Indulge (also LTE). We expected a higher device complexity for a first generation LTE handset and the Samsung and other LTE designs delivered this. Most non-LTE smartphones we analyze are closer to the 900 - 1100 component count range. This really pushes the envelope in terms of sheer component count - and we have seen a count like that since the early days of HTC "PDA" designs (before many of the functions we now expect were successively integrated into chipsets).

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Main PCB TopSamsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Main PCB Top
Design Notes

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus spends it's budget on a large screen, LTE functionality, and a lot of memory, so to see a bit of a tradeoff in the 5MP camera department is not surprising, but the Galaxy Nexus still represents the top end of the feature and cost/price scale. Of course, Samsung being a vertically integrated manufacturer, should be able, in principle, to offer more bang for the cost buck in terms of hardware features.

As mentioned above - the core of the design (you could say there are two cores to the design) is the Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 apps processor "sphere'. Samsung is leveraging this processor the way Apple has the A4. In fact, Samsung has been a true follower of Apple's design principles if not their designs outright.

The other "sphere" of design is the wireless section, which features, straight from Samsung's own internal bag of tricks is the CMC221 (which appears to be an evolution of the CMC22000) which is the LTE baseband processor. The CDMA wireless interface chips are from Via Telecom (Baseband) and Silicon Motion (just as it did in the Droid Charge). This direction is interesting as even the recent (2011) Samsung Indulge still was using a Qualcomm QSC chip(set) in the CDMA baseband role. This departure from Qualcomm is interesting and may be feature set/cost related.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Main PCB BottomSamsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom
Display Module / Touchscreen

Samsung Mobile Display - AMS465GS01 - Display / Touchscreen Module - Samsung Super AMOLED, 4.65" Diagonal, 16.7M Color AMOLED, 1280 x 720 Pixels, w/ Capacitive Touchscreen

Main PCB

Baseband

  • Samsung Semiconductor - CMC221 - Baseband Processor - LTE
  • VIA Telecom - CBP7.1 - Baseband Processor - CDMA2000 1X / EVDO REV A

Apps Processing

  • Texas Instruments - OMAP4460BCBS - Application Processor - TI OMAP4, Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9, 1.5GHz, IVA 3 Hardware Accelerator, SGX540 3D Graphic Core, 1080P 2D/3D, 45nm Process, PoP

Memory

  • Samsung Semiconductor - K3PE7E700M-XGC1 - SDRAM - Mobile DDR2, 1GB, PoP

Power Management

  • Texas Instruments - TWL6030B1A4CMR - Power Management IC

BT / FM / GPS / WLAN

  • Broadcom - BCM4330XB2KFFBG - Bluetooth / FM / WLAN - IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, FM Radio Transceiver

RF / PA

RF Xcvrs

  • Silicon Motion - FC7851 - RF Transceiver - LTE
  • Silicon Motion - FC7780 - RF Transceiver - Dual-Band CDMA2000 1x/EVDO, 800/1900MHz, 3-Wire SPI, w/ Integrated LNA

Memory PCB

Memory

  • Sandisk - SDIN5C2-32G - Flash - iNAND, 32GB, MLC

Camera Modules

  • Primary Camera Module - 5.1MP, BSI CMOS, 1/4" Format, Auto Focus Lens
  • Secondary Camera Module - 1.3MP, FSI CMOS, 1/5" Format, Fixed Lens

Samsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Box ContentsSamsung Galaxy Nexus SCH-i515 Mobile Handset_(iSi) - Box Contents



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