'Assembled in USA' adds to Moto X cachet, not much to price
Tech analysts at IHS iSuppli have torn apart Motorola's latest phone, the Moto X, and found that it costs about as much to make as competing phones from Samsung and Apple—even factoring in the additional labor cost of assembling the Moto X inside the U.S. instead of Asia.
While the components, such as the display and processor, are still made at factories in Asia, the labor-intensive assembly of the Moto X is done here, as Motorola proudly announced prior to the phone's launch. Motorola was acquired in 2011 by Google for $12.5 billion; the Moto X is the first real collaboration between the two, and Google has been experimenting with building gadgets here.
(Read more: Smartphones: Why one size doesn't fit all anymore)
But as it turns out, relocating that last step to the U.S. doesn't seem to affect the cost much. IHS iSuppli's teardown pegs the cost per unit at $225.65, all inclusive. Of that, the analysts estimate, only $12 comes from assembly costs—and doing that work in Asia would only have saved around $4.
More from NBCNews.com:
- Humans tend to trust robots that look human
- 'Perfect privacy'? In Internet communication, that doesn't exist
- 'We are all Martians': Chemist's otherworldly claim stirs debate
The most expensive component, as is usually the case, is the high-resolution touchscreen ($66), followed by the phone's processing chip ($30) and then its RAM and storage ($21).
A 16 GB iPhone 5 costs about $207 to produce, and sells for $649 unlocked. The Galaxy S4 (also 16 GB) costs about $237 to make, also selling at the same price point, between $620-$650. Meanwhile, the Moto X undercuts them both at $579 without a contract. With a two-year contract, it's $199.
(Read more: This smartphone is the main target for malware)
—By Devin Coldewey, contributing writer for NBC News Digital