THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGE SAMSUNG HAS OVER APPLE AND OTHER SMARTPHONE VENDORS


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Apple (AAPL), the world’s most profitable smartphone maker, has a number of advantages over most of the competition. Momentum, complete control over its end-to-end user experience, design prowess and a number of major new revenue channels it may be preparing to tap can be listed among them. But there is one area where top rival Samsung (005930) has a huge edge over Apple and other smartphone companies, and a recent report illustrates just how important it really is.Earlier this week, research firm IHS iSuppli issued its compulsory pre-launch estimate for the Galaxy S 4′s bill of materials. According to that estimate, the Galaxy S 4 costs Samsung about $236 per unit excluding manufacturing costs. That figure is quite high compared to the estimated $207 Apple pays for each iPhone 5, but a key observation was made by Forbes’ Parmy Olson in a recent post: More than half of the cost of each…

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