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BlackBerry Torch Cheaper To Build Than iPhone 4

Research In Motion's latest smartphone costs a total of $183.05 to build, compared with $187.51 for Apple's iPhone 4, according to iSuppli.
Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch
(click image for larger view)
Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch
Otherwise, the Torch's radio frequency, power amplifier and power management subsystems are similar or virtually identical to the Bold 9700, while the Torch's display is very similar to the Storm2 9550.

Like the iPhone 4, the most expensive component of the Torch is the 3.2-inch LCD and touch screen display module, which costs $34.85, or 20.4% of the product's total build of materials, iSuppli said. Apple's 3.5-inch LCD screen that features a resolution of 960 x 630 pixels, four times that of the iPhone 3Gs, cost $28.50.

An area that added cost to building the iPhone 4 was the redesigned housing. Unlike the unibody housing of previous models, the new phone's enclosure is composed of multiple pieces, making it possible to accommodate a larger battery and turn the metal sides of the enclosure into an antenna.

The Torch also bears some similarities to other brands. Mechanically, it's comparable in complexity and cost to HTC's Tilt 2. The Torch also integrates Texas Instrument's WL127x WLAN/Bluetooth integrated circuit, which is also found in Motorola's Droid X and Microsoft's Kin 2.

While RIM had high hopes that the Torch would attract new customers, the device has landed mostly mixed reviews, with some reviewers call it underwhelming and lacking innovation. Indeed, in a sign that sales were less than expected, the price of the device was sliced in half less than a week after its launched.

Amazon.com and other websites slashed the price of the Torch from $199.99 with a two-year service contract to $99.99. The smartphone costs $499.99 without a phone contract.

FURTHER READING:

-- BlackBerry's Torch Is On Fire

-- First Impressions: BlackBerry 9800 Torch Hardware

-- BlackBerry Messaging Ban Looms

-- BlackBerry Torch Being Sold At Steep Discount

-- Apple iPhone 4 Teardown Reveals $188 In Materials

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer