iSuppli's Galaxy Tab teardown finds $205 in parts

The price is roughly $60 less than the iPad, mostly because of its smaller, cheaper 7-inch display.

Calling Samsung's Galaxy Tab a jumbo smartphone rather than a "true competitor" to Apple's iPad, iSuppli calculated a $205.22 bill of materials in its Galaxy Tab teardown.

That's roughly $60 less than the iPad, mostly because of its smaller, cheaper display. While both tablets use TFT-LCD screens, the iPad's 9.7-inch display adds in-plane switching for better viewing angles, and costs $98, compared with $57 for the Galaxy Tab's 7-inch screen, iSuppli said.

With manufacturing included, the Galaxy Tab costs $214.57 to build, according to iSuppli, but that doesn't include development costs, software, licensing, royalties or profit margins. Without a wireless contract, the 3G Galaxy Tab will cost $600 through Verizon Wireless. Other carriers, including Sprint and T-Mobile, will sell the Tab for $400 with two-year data contracts.

Strangely, iSuppli uses the opportunity in its teardown press release to rip the Galaxy Tab as merely a larger version of Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones. "While the design approach makes the Galaxy less expensive to produce than the iPad 3G, it also makes for a product that lacks the same usability," said Andrew Rassweiler, iSuppli's director, principal analyst and teardown services manager. "The Galaxy Tab's screen resolution, size and technology are not at the same level as the iPad."

As my colleague JR Raphael once noted, the Galaxy Tab does a pretty good job of rivaling the iPad on hardware. It even adds a few novel features, such as front and rear cameras and expandable storage. The display size is really a matter of preference. Some people will like a tablet that's lighter and fits easily in one hand, while others will want the iPad's extra screen real estate for big tablet apps.

The biggest issue with Samsung's Galaxy Tab is software. The company is including some of its own tablet-optimized programs, but with no third-party apps designed for the 7-inch screen in the Android Market, the Galaxy Tab will feel more like a large smartphone than the iPad. That has nothing to do with specs or hardware costs, and everything to do with the current state of Android.

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Jared Newman

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