updated 12:20 pm EST, Tue November 11, 2008
T-Mobile G1 Cost Teardown
T-Mobile's G1 phone costs the carrier and its build partner HTC significantly less to make than its Apple rival, researchers at iSuppli conclude. The firm estimates that the raw material cost of a G1 amounts to $143.89 and that the single largest cost is the $28.49 baseband hardware, which represents both the main CPU as well as the cellular link. The 3.2-inch touchscreen is next at $19.67 while the camera ($12.13) and the RF/power amp for the 3G connection ($9.84) stand at third and fourth place respectively.
The cost is $30.44 less than the iPhone 3G's $174.33 but is also a less-featured device as a whole, iSuppli explains. The Android-powered G1 has a hardware keyboard and a compass but also has a more limited dual-band 3G connection that doesn't work in as many places as the iPhone's, which needs to support more than just T-Mobile's US and European networks. It also lacks a capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch gesture support.
The fit and finish are also a step down on the G1's thicker, simpler body, notes senior analyst Tina Teng.
Teardowns such as these also don't include the costs of software development, marketing and shipping, the first of which is seen as particularly important to the differences between the Apple and HTC devices. At present, the G1 has advantages like Street View in Google Maps but also lacks support for Exchange or other non-Gmail messaging accounts out of the box, lending the iPhone a significant advantage in the workplace. This should change as third parties write apps using the open-source platform but for now leaves a significant gap between the G1 and iPhone.