For months, rumors and speculation have circulated that Motorola was planning a gamechanging 'X phone' aimed at clawing back share in a smartphone market where Apple and Samsung take all of the profit. Now the manufacturer has announced that its next flagship device, the Moto X, will be produced at a manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, according to CBS News.
Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside formally announced the Moto X and its Fort Worth assembly this week at AllThingsD's D11 Conference. The Moto X will be the first smartphone ever assembled in the United States, Mark Randall, Motorola's senior vice president of supply chain and operations, noted in a statement. This despite the fact that the United States was until recently the largest market for smartphones.
"Fact remains that more than 130 million people in the U.S. are using smartphones," Randall said, "but until Moto X, none of those smartphones have been built in the USA."
The Moto X ? scheduled to debut this summer ? will be assembled at a Fort Worth factory owned by Flextronics International, a Singapore-based contract electronics manufacturer. The 500,000 square-foot facility will employ 2,000 people by August. Locating the assembly operations in Fort Worth will increase efficiencies in production, as Motorola's engineering teams are based in Chicago and Silicon Valley, while its service and repair operations are based in Mexico.
In moving its assembly operations into the United States, Motorola has beaten fellow U.S. phone maker Apple to a possible marketing point. With the American economy still sluggish and unemployment numbers still high, a Made in the USA tag could help to score points in the world's second-largest smartphone market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook last year said he wanted there to be American-made Apple products, despite the company's long-time reliance on Taiwan's Foxconn to assemble its bestselling iPhone. Cook noted that some of the components that go into iPhones are in fact made in the United States, even if the devices themselves are assembled overseas.
"The [ARM semiconductor] engine for the iPad and iPhone are built in the U.S., in Austin Texas," Cook said. "The [Corning] glass for your iPhone... is made in Kentucky."
Apple is already assembling some of its iMac desktop computers in the United States, and the company reportedly will soon debut another Made in America Mac. That Mac, Cook recently confirmed, will be a refreshed version of an existing product, possibly a revamped Mac Pro.