Monday, January 14, 2013

Phone Parts: Costs and Availability

I thought it might be good to talk a bit about parts costs and parts availability in the phone and tablet world.  No, I won't be going over wholesale prices or anything like that.  Rather, I wanted to take a moment to answer a couple of the more common questions that have come up recently.

Q:  Why do certain models cost so much to repair?
A:  There are several reasons that one model may cost more than another to repair.  As an example lets use a common repair, a broken screen, on two comparable and popular phones: the Apple iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S3.  Both are excellent smartphones.  Both are feature rich and colorful.  So, why does the Samsung Galaxy S3 screen repair cost three times as much as the iPhone 4S? 
First, volume.  While both are very popular phones, consider how many iPhones have been sold vs. any other make or model.  That level of popularity and market share tends to drive the demand for parts.  And volume drives down price. 
Second, technology.  Samsung is very proud of their Super AMOLED screens.  As they should be.  However, the combination of technology and screen real estate does come with a cost.

Q:  What about repairing my ZTE, Pantech, Casio phone or Coby, Pandigital, etc... tablet?
A:  Well the answer is a definite "maybe".  With certain makes or models it comes down to a matter of parts availability.  Similar to the previous example, volume drives down prices, in this case volume determines parts availability.  Certain manufacturers cater to a specific niche market:  Casio to the ruggedized phone market, ZTE and Pantech to the value phone market;  Coby, Pandigital, et al, to the value or entry-level tablet market.  It is a matter of volume vs. benefit, supply and demand.  Parts manufacturers devote their focus to those models that have the demand for the parts.  So, while a full catalog of parts may be available for Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and HTC devices, the lesser known brands such as ZTE, Pantech, Coby, etc... may only have one or two parts available.

1 comment:

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