Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) fancy new Lumia 900 may be the Finnish giant's new belle of the ball, but it also costs a pretty penny. The flagship Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows Phone device is getting a lot of backing from carrier partner AT&T (NYSE: T ) , which is gunning up its marketing engines into high gear to push its new exclusive smartphone.
Although if you were to compare the component costs next to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) latest iPhone 4S, it doesn't paint a very pretty margin picture for Nokia. Apple's device sells for more and costs less, spelling out juicier margins for Cupertino. Here's how the iSuppli bill of material estimates for some of the more relevant (and expensive) components stacks up:
Nokia Lumia 900
Apple iPhone 4S
|Display and touchscreen||$58||$37|
|Mechanical and electro-mechanical||$18||$33|
|Total component cost||$209||$190|
|Unsubsidized retail price||$450||$649|
|Gross margin ($)||$241||$459|
|Gross margin (%)||53.5%||70.7%|
That's a pretty major margin advantage for Apple to enjoy on its newest iteration of the iPhone, which also helps explain why Nokia's overall gross margin of 27.7% last quarter hardly compares with the 47.4% gross margin that the iPhone maker enjoyed last quarter.
On the cost side, there are a couple of notable differences worth mentioning on why the Lumia 900 racks up more component costs than the iPhone.
The display and touchscreen combination costs much more on the Lumia 900, but there are two big differences. The Lumia 900 features a notably larger 4.3-inch display, compared with the 3.5-inch iPhone Retina Display. The Lumia 900's display is also an AMOLED display from Samsung, which are pricier to manufacture.
Both devices use wireless chips from Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) , but the Lumia 900 uses one with 4G LTE capabilities, while the iPhone will likely see 4G LTE data speeds later this year served up by Qualcomm's newest 28-nanometer baseband chips. For now, the current iPhone's 3G speeds are slower than the Lumia 900's data connection.
These cost estimates exclude things like manufacturing, marketing, distribution, or software R&D. Of course, Apple spends very little on R&D in percentage terms relative to its revenue, and Microsoft is the one pitching in the Windows Phone operating system on the Lumia 900.
Nokia's fate looks dimmer each quarter, with its first quarter smartphone market share getting slashed by nearly two-thirds and falling into single-digit territory as Samsung and Apple take over. Its margins aren't helping much, either.
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