Is a smartphone a digital signage player, too?

January 9, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Spotted this on Engadget, which was picking up on an iSuppli analysis of the build cost of the new Google Nexus One smartphone.

iSuppli reports a preliminary estimate of $174.15 for the cost of materials needed to build each handset. The research firm also congratulates Google on keeping a bill of materials comparable to most recent smartphones while having “the most advanced features of any smart phone ever dissected by iSuppli’s Teardown Analysis Service.” Costliest of all things was the 1GHz Snapdragon ($30.50), followed by the AMOLED display ($23.50) and memory ($20.40) from Samsung. The Bluetooth and 802.11n WiFi transceiver cost $8.20, and perhaps the most egregious spend was $12.50 on a 5-megapixel camera that many of us might never use.

Like many people in the industry I have been watching the evolution of these phones and thinking they will pretty quickly get to the point that they could be fully realized digital signage playback devices. This one is capable of playing out 720P HD, the report says. However, the question was always whether that made any sense if small form factor PCs were available for $300-$400 and these handsets were $600.

Presumably, the cost breakdown here is for very high volumes and does not include assembly. So baking all that in, these are units that would still probably cost more than a very capable small-form factor PC. But if the right deal could be worked with a carrier, and therefore the subsidized handset costs kicked in, these things are now at a point where testing one would not be the goofiest thing ever tried.

The open question, probably among many, is whether a smartphone designed to play videos and Flash 10 now and then would behave nicely if it was asked to do that over and over and over, 20 hours or more each day. Would it tick along nicely, or start smoking or melting? 

The bottom line is that the technologies are indeed converging, and if one of the things that keeps you up at night is sorting out in your head how digital signage works with mobile, having both things running off the same operating system and device seems really interesting.  

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