Samsung is using two widely different hardware configurations for the US and Korean versions of its Galaxy S4 handset, according to researchers.
Analysts at IHS said that the company is using significantly more branded components for its Korean handsets, while the smartphones sold in the US are built with third-party hardware at a slightly lower overall cost.
According to the firm, the US model of the Galaxy S4 relies on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, Fujitsu image processor and Qualcomm power management unit. Meanwhile, the Korean Galaxy S4 runs the Samsung Exynos 5 processor, Silicon Motion Mobile TV imaging hardware and a Samsung power unit.
The differing components also bring about a difference in cost. IHS estimates that the Korean model costs $252, while the US version fo the Galaxy S4 costs $237 in materials and assembly costs.
According to IHS senior teardown analyst Vincent Leung, the difference in components indicates that Samsung is tailoring its hardware configurations to match the unique market requirements and network capabilities of each market. In the US, the company has opted for a slightly lower cost and less powerful model.
"This approach is in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all philosophy used by Apple Inc., Samsung’s primary competitor in the wireless space," said Leung. "While the Korean and US versions of the S4 look pretty much the same and have in terms of their core electronics many same core features – such as the enclosure, display, camera and battery – the products are as different from each other as kimchee and coleslaw."
So far, Samsung's strategy appears to be paying off. The Galaxy S4 was a cornerstone of the company's financial returns and initial reviews of the handset rated the S4 highly despite concerns over build quality.
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