The HTC Thunderbolt was the first phone to hit the market with Verizon 4G LTE and a new report from iSuppli suggests that the high-speed mobile data capabilities greatly added to the cost. In fact, the company said it was the most expensive phone to make that is has torn down yet.
In a report, iSuppli said:
The use of the 4G LTE wireless standard in the HTC ThunderBolt added $39.75 to the cost of the smartphone, representing a major contribution to the cellphone’s sizable bill of materials (BOM). In fact, at $262, the ThunderBolt carries the highest BOM cost of any smartphone IHS has ever torn down, rivaling the expense of media tablets.
The first-generation 4G LTE modules are the main culprits, as these are not yet integrated into the main chipsets and this is why devices like the HTC Thunderbolt, the LG Revolution and the Samsung Droid Charge are rather bulky and don’t have great battery lives. That’s just the cost of doing business with first-generation technology but that should be changing soon as companies become more familiar with 4G LTE technology.
That’s why we may not see 4G LTE support in the next iPhone, as the costs and design tradeoffs may not be worth it to Apple quite yet. Of course, Apple is known to be ahead of the curve when it comes to components, so there’s always a slim possibility that the next iPhone will support this. Besides, the “iPhone 4G” does have a nice ring to it.