Nokia's flagship N8 smartphone and the Apple iPhone 4, a device Nokia hopes the N8 can stand up against, each have a bill of materials totaling $187, according to iSuppli.
Nokia designed the N8, its newest flagship smartphone
with hopes of re-launching itself as a top contender whose devices can
again compete with the market's strongest offerings-namely the Apple
iPhone and high-end Android-running handsets from HTC, Motorola and
Samsung. While consumers have yet to loudly weigh in on the N8, a
teardown analysis by iSuppli found it to be on par with the iPhone 4-at
least when it comes to billing.
The hardware BoM (bill of materials) for the N8 totals $187.47, by
iSuppli's estimate. In June, iSuppli found the 16GB iPhone 4 to total
$187.51. (Add in manufacturing costs, however, and the N8 jumps to
"The N8'S BoM shows Nokia is targeting the product squarely at the
touch-screen smartphone segment now dominated by the iPhone," iSuppli
Director Andrew Rassweiler said in a statement. "Although the two
phones differ markedly in key areas, including the camera and the core
silicon, both are designed to hit similar production cost budgets."
At 12 megapixels, the camera-called "a honker" by iFixit,
during its teardown - is one of the N8's most notable features.
According to iSuppli, it's the third most costly subsystem on the
device, at $31.08, though the number-one difference between the N8 and
the iPhone 4. While Apple chose a 5-megapixel camera, Nokia went with a
CMOS sensor, as well as a secondary VGA resolution model and a
Xenon flash unit, more typically seen on a traditional digital camera.
Most smartphones, says iSuppli, use white LED lights to help in
low-light conditions, which apparently works but is far from ideal.
"The 12-megapixel resolution represents the leading edge of camera
resolution in handsets, and the N8 is the first smartphone model
iSuppli has torn down with such an advanced image sensor," Rassweiler
said. "Apple has never regarded the camera module as a key
differentiating feature on iPhones, and has always spent its budget
elsewhere within the design. Clearly, Nokia wants the N8 to be
distinguished in this aspect."
Another differentiator between the devices-and the most costly bit,
at $39.25-is the N8's display and capacitive touch screen. While the
iPhone 4 features a 3.5-inch LCD with advanced low-temperature
polysilicon (LTPS) and in-place switching (IPS) technology, reports
iSuppli, the N8's 3.5-inch display instead uses AMOLED (active matrix
organic light emitting diode) technology.
iSuppli reports that the display, commonly used by Android-running smartphones, was provided by Samsung.
The N8's second most-expensive subsytem is its memory. Unlike Apple,
which uses conventional NAND, the N8 reportedly uses a "variant of NAND
flash memory known as Embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC)," which is
slightly more expensive and combines memory components with interface
circuitry and a controller. In the N8 that iSuppli tore down, the eMMC
was provided by Toshiba.
Lastly, tallying fourth from the top, is the N8's media and baseband
processing subsystem, at $37.12. Included are a digital baseband
processor IC manufactured by Texas Instruments and a Broadcom
multimedia chip - the first of its kind iSuppli has seen in a teardown.
The latter features HD support and includes the HDMI technology for
The least expensive item on the N8's BoM is its battery, at $3.95.
The user interface, which includes the e-compass and accelerometer, was
priced at $4.89, while Bluetooth, WLAN and GPS connectivity bits were
together priced at just under $10.
The N8 began shipping from factories in Finland and China Sept. 30,
though it isn't expected to be available from U.S. retailers until late October.