Google’s Motorola to Sell Texas-Made Smartphone by SummerGoogle’s Motorola to Sell Texas-Made Smartphone by Summer
Google’s Motorola unit will bring a new smartphone, called the Moto X, to market by this summer, according to Motorola Mobility chief executive Dennis Woodside, speaking in an interview at AllThingsD’s D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
May 31, 2013
Google’s (GOOG) Motorola unit will bring a new smartphone, called the Moto X, to market by this summer, according to Motorola Mobility chief executive Dennis Woodside, speaking in an interview at AllThingsD’s D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
“It’s in my pocket, but I can’t show it to you,” said Woodside in the interview, one of a number of market-enticing statements certain to be made about Moto X before its debut.
The new phone will be manufactured by longtime Motorola partner, Singapore-based Flextronics (FLEX) at a currently unoccupied plant in Fort Worth, Texas, formerly used by Nokia (NOK). It will use two processors to conserve battery life and feature sensors to improve its responsiveness to user needs—such as sensing when it’s being used in a car or taken out of a user’s pocket—according to Woodside. Moto X is but one of a “handful” of new devices Motorola will unwrap by this fall, he said.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for us out there over the next couple of years,” Woodside said. “We’re trying to bring Motorola back to its roots.”
Motorola’s plan all along has been to manufacturer the Moto X smartphone in the United States, officials said. It will be manufactured at the Ft. Worth facility, with the majority of the assembly taking place there. As such, it will be the first smartphone made in the United States, although the processors are from Taiwan and the OLED screens from Korea, Woodside said.
Motorola is said to be pleased with the location and the facility, viewing it as centrally located for its engineering teams in Chicago and Silicon Valley and close to its service operations in Mexico. The company will continue to maintain its assembly operations in China and Brazil, officials said.
“There are several business advantages to having our Illinois and California-based designers and engineers much closer to our factory,” Motorola said in a statement. “For instance, we’ll be able to iterate on design much faster, create a leaner supply chain, respond much more quickly to purchasing trends and demands, and deliver devices to people here much more quickly."
The manufacturing initiative is expected to create some 2,000 associated jobs. According to reports, Motorola already has begun hiring to fill jobs at the Fort Worth plant.
Don’t look too far too fast, but “reshoring” may be a trend gaining some traction among IT manufacturers. Last December, Apple (AAPL) disclosed plans to invest $100 million to move some Mac manufacturing from overseas back to the United States in a move that could generate 200 jobs.
At the time, it was the latest maneuver by an American company to “reshore” jobs after years in which IT makers moved production opportunities elsewhere—a newfound redirecting prompted by rising wages offshore, quality control issues and an impulse on the part of manufacturers to keep a heavier finger on the process.
Apple received a great deal of attention in the wake of the announcement, virtually dwarfing Lenovo’s earlier declaration in October that it will make PCs in North Carolina this year. Now it’s Motorola’s turn to grab the “made in the U.S.” headlines for mobile devices. Let’s see who’s next.
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