Parts for the Nintendo 3DS, which went on sale on Sunday at $250 in the US, cost the Japanese console maker just $100, according to analysts.
A “teardown analysis” by IHS iSuppli prices the bill of materials for the handheld at $100.71, with the 3D upper screen and lower touchscreen accounting for a third of the bill.
ISuppli says the screens are made by Sharp and cost $33.80. By contrast, the cameras on the 3DS – one above the upper screen and two in the lid that take 3D photos – cost just $4.70 for all three.
“VGA camera modules are some of the least expensive of their kind now made,” iSuppli says.
Battery life on the 3DS has been criticised as worse than on its predecessor, the DSi, with a more powerful processor and sophisticated screen being driven. This is despite Nintendo spending more than twice as much on the battery at $3.50 compared to $1.70 for the DSi, according to the teardown analysts.
ISuppli says overall the 3DS costs a third more than the $75.58 bill of materials for the DSi when it was launched over two years ago.
The 3DS uses components mainly from Japanese suppliers, exposing it to greater supply chain risks from the earthquake and tsunami, although no delays or shortages have been reported by Nintendo related to the disaster so far.
I found the 3D effect on the 3DS a little hard to handle and, while the console seems to have had a good debut in Europe and the US over the weekend, Nintendo will be hoping there will not be the kind of returns some Japanese blogs are now reporting since the 3DS went on sale there first in February.