Moto X costs $221 to build, teardown apparently reveals

by: Chris SmithAugust 27, 2013

Moto X

A new Moto X teardown has apparently revealed that the cost of manufacturing a single unit is a little over $200 – a previous teardown has looked at the internal components of the handset, without offering a bill of materials for (BOM) for it.

IHS puts the number precisely at $221, and while the BOM isn’t confirmed by Motorola at this time, we should have no reason not to trust the company, which has provided similar data for other mobile devices in the past

According to IHS (via AllThingsD), “Motorola is paying a premium for a made-in-America phone, but it’s also giving them the ability to do the customization work easily.”

The Moto X is priced starting at $199.99 for the on-contract 16GB version, while the same model purchased without a contract costs $579. The 32GB version costs $249.99 or $629.99, depending on whether it’s bought with or without a contract, respectively.

We’ve seen many comments regarding the unexpectedly high price of the Moto X since the handset was unveiled, and we won’t go into that debate again. Instead, let’s look at some of the costs involved, as assessed by IHS – we’re looking at the price Motorola reportedly pays for one Moto X unit:

  • $209 – total cost of components
  • $12 – manufacturing cost, reported to be $4-5 higher than the cost of making the phone in Asia.
  • $28 – cost of Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor part of the Motorola X8 system.
  • $43 – in addition to the Snapdragon S4, Qualcomm also provides the chips for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular connections, power management and audio. In total the company gets almost $43 for each Moto X unit.
  • $4-5 – cost of two Texas Instruments chips (contextual computing and always-on voice chips) part of the Motorola X8 system
  • $64.50 – cost of the 4.65-inch Samsung display and “chips to run it.”

In addition to the components mentioned above, the Moto X also packs a camera chip from Omnivision, wireless chip from Skyworks, accelerometer and gyroscope from STMicroelectronics, and microphones from Wolfson Microelectronics.

Have you purchased a Moto X unit yet?

  • Pedro

    OK, so, let’s say they take a 50% profit from the phone, which would put it at $330. Where goes the other $300? Do they actually take $300 for software development?

    • Anonymous

      Oh so they aren’t allowed any profits made to feed their families?

      • paxmos

        I say they should go to Ruth Chris Steak House to feast

      • Luka Mlinar

        You mean stock holders right? :D

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      Nah. They figured they needed perfume pricing. If they charged 300/350 it’d validate the mid-spec mid-tier chatter, and presumably they think it’d hurt sales. I tend to believe the opposite.

      • T.J.
        • EvenInTheDarkestHour

          Maybe, compared to comps, it’s still a premium price for less than premium phone by Android smartphone standards. The discussion usually turns to the software features…all of which can be found in apps in the Play store. That leaves the “customization” features…the colored back, buttons and camera ring. If it represents a value to you, go for it. It doesn’t to me, so I will not.

          • T.J.

            Well what else is in a phone other than components? That price is completely justified.
            Don’t tell me every feature is in the Play store. The always listening for any other phone than this one will kill the battery in no time. Not even close to comparable.
            And the software in the Moto X has been optimized which you definitely can’t find in play store. The reviews I’ve read said this phone had no lag or stutter like the other flagship phones.
            I don’t care if you decide to get it or not but don’t calling this phone “not premium” when every review is saying otherwise.

          • EvenInTheDarkestHour

            You seem to be taking this personally, sorry if I hurt your feelings. I hope you enjoy the phone, when you get one…

          • T.J.

            That’s funny because you seem offended by this phone.
            I don’t care that don’t don’t like it, I just don’t like stupidity and misinformation. If everyone thinks a phone needs the highest possible specs to be a good phone, no progress well every be made.

          • EvenInTheDarkestHour

            They have set the retail price too high compared it to similarly spec’d phones, which happen to be either mid-tier or last year’s model about to be updated. I also think that had Moto perused another pricing strategy, their phone would sell like no other, as I suggested in my first comment, had you noticed. As to the claim of misinformation, check into the apps, you might be surprised at how well they work.

          • T.J.
    • Marketing, overhead, software developers, retailers, etc.
      Also maybe attempting to not be a money loser for Google again.

    • T.J.
    • Dexter

      What about, paying the people who work at Motorola, all the commercials, then there are takes, and then is the profit. So don’t take only the manufacturing cost in mind when calculating these numbers

    • There’s also hardware development, and marketing. All phone OEMs do this, get over it.

    • Joshua Hill

      Thank you I was wondering how this compared to other top tier smartphones.

  • Luka Mlinar

    I call BULLSHIT!
    Not even Dennis is stupid enough to spend more on a mid range phone. There is no way to justify that to his bosses. Only way this could work is if it was made a whole lot cheaper then the S4 so even with crap sales it makes a ton of cash.

  • Cristi13

    When was about the s4, costing 237$, people were screaming cheap, now moto x is premium…

  • End in sight

    So just an extra 5 bucks per phone for made in America assembling. Not as much as I feared it might be.

    But the extra $300 they tack on…now that sux.

    • CoolCustomer

      Well that is just for parts, they still have to cover R&D, Marketing and shipping (of the parts) costs. I’m not defending the final cost of the phone (and I believe carriers have more of a say in it than we are led to believe) but the cost of parts is only part of the overall cost.

      Edit: I’ll just add that given they have Google backing them and Google basically prints money they could have ate the R&D cost, most of which came from the new camera lens which didn’t pan out, and sold this for $300.