Due to investigations into working conditions at manufacturing companies such as Foxconn, smartphone producers have been under pressure to provide products without sacrificing human health or basic rights. Last Wednesday, Dennis Woodside, the head of Motorola, announced at the All Things D conference that his company is teaming up with Google to build the first smartphone made in the US. Not only will the plan allow Motorola to “iterate and innovate much faster,” but it will provide 2,000 new jobs at a factory located just outside Fort Worth, Texas.
The tech giants will be occupying an old Nokia factory that will be operated by Flextronics, a company Motorola has hired to assemble its products at various locations around the world. While the phones will be built in Texas, the components will come from outside sources such as South Korea and Taiwan. They will start to fill position this August, ranging from engineers to entry level posts. These jobs will be separate from the 4,000 that Motorola eliminated last year. As for the phone, called the “Moto X,” Woodside hinted at a few of its capabilities at the conference. The device would possess a battery that could hold a charge longer than a day, resist fracture when dropped, shatter-proof screens, artificial intelligence, a better camera, and the ability recognize individual voices in a room. The phone is slated to be for sale this October.
Executives at Flextronics believe their decision to open a manufacturing facility in Texas will start a trend of bringing industry back to the United States.“What you’re looking at now is a shift not just from low cost but to where supply chains are making it possible to shift to a regional footprint,” said Flextronics’ chief supply chain officer, Tom Linton. “Labor arbitrage is no longer the defining element for supply chains of the future.” A full 70 percent of the phones will be assembled in the Forth Worth plant, and in addition to helping the companies shorten the gap between design and production feedback, would be the first step towards jumpstarting regional economies.