Samsung Galaxy Nexus Teardown Reveals Cheaper LTE Chip

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus features a cheaper LTE baseband chip, the better to secure rapid LTE migration throughout the world, according to a new teardown.

A new teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus reveals a device with a new, cheaper Long-Term Evolution (LTE) baseband chip and a powerful 1.2GHz processor.

€œThe new chip is estimated at nearly half the cost of the prior chip€™s $23 price tag,€ read the Feb. 6 note from ABI Research accompanying the teardown. €œThis type of cost reduction is an important milestone in securing the rapid migration to LTE throughout the world.€

Other featured elements of the teardown included a [Texas Instruments] OMAP4460 1.2GHz processor, which matches the performance of Samsung€™s 1.2GHz Exynos at the expense of consuming €œsignificantly more power in computational intensive tests.€

Samsung enters 2012 with a variety of devices in its portfolio, all designed to give the company an edge in the crowded Android market. It also competes viciously with Apple, which€”according to mobile analyst firm Juniper Research€”overtook it in smartphone shipments in the last quarter of 2011.

Although Samsung lost that top spot to Apple, the South Korean company has still managed to increase its overall market share from 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 21.7 percent today. According to Juniper, that rise in market share compels Apple to continue offering older iPhone models, in order to better compete with Samsung€™s fairly extensive offerings.

€œThe scale of Samsung€™s product range is saturating the market,€ said Daniel Ashdown, a Juniper research analyst. €œApple has had to counter Samsung€™s products like the Galaxy Ace in order to maintain the visibility of its brand.€

Apple is widely expected to release an iPhone 5 in either the summer or fall. Current rumors suggest that device will deviate radically from its predecessors, with a larger screen and perhaps a more powerful processor. Whatever arrives on store shelves, it will almost certainly offer a sizable challenge in customers€™ eyes to Samsung€™s line, both in terms of performance and style€”which could drive Samsung, in turn, to continue its focus on high-end specs and LTE support.

Samsung and Apple are also battling it out in courtrooms around the world, with each side accusing the other of patent infringement. Earlier in February, Samsung ratcheted up another victory in that battle, when a German court refused to grant Apple a preliminary sales ban on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet and the Galaxy Nexus.

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