Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing, New Delhi, London, Boston, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires
September 9th, 2020
The premium flagship smartphone segment has been the flag-bearer for the latest innovations as points of differentiation brands. While the premium segment is dominated by a handful of players such as Samsung, Apple, Huawei and OnePlus, depending on the markets, the competition has never been so intense.
Product designers at these brands have been meticulously integrating the latest technologies – from chipsets, through multiple system components, to design language, manufacturing techniques, optimized software and services to drive differentiation and boost the top and bottom lines. These efforts create a halo effect around the flagship models that trickles down to the rest of the portfolio to spark consumer aspirations on the demand side and scale on the supply side.
To help the industry better understand what constitutes a winning smartphone and who is driving the greatest innovations, Counterpoint’s Components research practice has been publishing deep-dive analyses on the latest Bill of Materials (BoM) and corresponding supplier design wins. Counterpoint’s latest assessment is on the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G smartphone designed for the mmWave 5G networks.
Commenting on the research findings, Senior Analyst, Ethan Qi, highlighted, “Samsung has done an excellent job in designing, manufacturing and integrating multiple advanced technologies and components in a very thin and light form-factor compared to the previous generation flagship models, and with a competitive BoM cost structure. The total BoM cost achievement is slightly under $550 with the component cost making up around $468, which is a commendable for a device with a list price of $1299.”
Samsung has launched multiple SKUs for this model, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ variant for some select key markets such as the USA, China, South Korea, and others, whereas an Exynos 990-based variant is destined for the rest of the world.
Mr. Qi, adds, “This mmWave version of the Note 20 Ultra 5G builds on Qualcomm’s reference design featuring the most advanced 5G SoC, the Snapdragon 865+, and the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System. The mmWave variant costs roughly 10% more than the sub-6 GHz variant in terms of total component costs. The device also features one of the most advanced camera sensors in a nicely integrated three-sensor module. Unlike the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G features a lower resolution telephoto lens, omitting the DepthVision sensor, and adding a laser auto-focus module optimized for faster focusing. Samsung CIS camera sensors have come a long way and compete fiercely with Sony for design wins.”
Design wins are a point of validation for component suppliers when OEMs choose their technology for a leading flagship product. For some brands, it also reveals the level of vertical integration or dependence on particular suppliers.
Highlighting the design wins, Research Director, Tom Kang, commented, “Samsung, with its multiple SKU strategy, has a varied level of dependence on vertically integrated internal suppliers and external suppliers. This requires sophisticated system integration. For example, with the mmWave Qualcomm variant of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, Samsung contributes to roughly half of the costs of the total components, whereas, for the Exynos variant, Samsung’s share goes up to almost 70%. It is impressive to see Qualcomm’s share in a Samsung flagship exceed 40%, as it offers a fully-optimized system-level solution from SoC to the modem, RF and antenna system. Other important component design wins include NXP which combines UWB, Secure Element, NFC, and eSIM in a single solution. Other notable contributors include Qorvo, Largan Precision, Corning, and others.”
The exhibit below summarizes the BoM cost analysis. An expanded version with details of more than 100 key components and parameters influencing the device’s cost structure is available for clients.
Exhibit 1: SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G 128GB (mmWave) BoM Analysis
Exhibit 2: SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA 5G 128GB (mmWave) Share of BoM by Supplier
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Counterpoint’s senior team comes from technology firms such as Nokia, Samsung, LG, Vivo, China Mobile, TSMC, Qualcomm, Intel, Microsoft, Ford, NEC, Panasonic, Philips and more.
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