updated 08:30 am EST, Fri January 15, 2010
Droid costs over $187 to build
An iSuppli teardown today reveals that the Motorola Droid is ultimately one of the most expensive smartphones to build in the current market. The Android handset has a materials cost of $179.11 and an assembly cost of $8.64, putting its pure manufacturing cost at $187.75. The number is higher than the $178.96 16GB iPhone 3GS and higher still than the Droid's fellow Android device, the $174.15 Nexus One.
Some of the cost overrun is attributed to Motorola's attempt to solve perceived problems of the iPhone. By using removable instead of embedded memory, the 16GB $35 16GB microSDHC card is the single most expensive component in the entire Droid, the analysts estimate. The 3.7-inch, 854x480 LCD is also relatively expensive and costs $17.75; the capacitive touch surface it needs is $17.25, making the complete display the single most expensive built-in component.
Some elements also appear to be unique and may contribute to the slightly higher price. The $14.25 camera is not only a higher-resolution 5-megapixel unit with flash but may use a heat activated autofocusing system unusual in this category. Also, the $14.04 CDMA/EVDO chipset from Qualcomm supports not just Verizon's bands but also the 1,700MHz AWS band used by small CDMA carriers like Cricket.
Other significant costs include the 550MHz TI OMAP processor ($12.90), about 750MB of built-in flash memory from Toshiba ($9.20), the TI Bluetooth/Wi-Fi chipset ($6.50), another 192MB of flash from Numonyx ($4.90) and the lithium-ion battery ($4.25). It's not mentioned how much extra the sliding QWERTY keyboard adds to the price.
The costs are partially surprising as the HTC-made Nexus One uses a number of higher-end components, including a similar resolution AMOLED display and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. However, it also comes equipped with a 4GB microSD card whose reduced storage helps offset some of the price.