On Tuesday Motorola held a special event in Fort Worth, Texas to celebrate the official launch of the U.S.-based facility that builds the new Moto X smartphone. This plant has created more than 2,000 jobs for the locals in less than four months, and the company is still hiring. The plant is even churning out 100,000 Moto X units per week.
During the event, Engadget asked Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside if the company also plans to locally manufacture tablets. Woodside said that's something the company is working on, but for now there's nothing specific to talk about. Indeed, Motorola is likely focused on getting the Moto X locomotive moving along at a steady pace before tackling a larger form factor.
Currently it's unclear if this device will be offered through the company's Moto Maker made-to-order website (opens in new tab), but Woodside and other Motorola executives insist that customization is the way to go moving forward. That means the next tablet will likely arrive with different configurations both on a hardware and a visual level.
However Woodside did admit that the company plans to explore other form factors that incorporate "some of the design cues, as well as technologies, from the Moto X." A Moto X-style tablet would follow the company's previous pre-Google tablet efforts including the Xoom and DROID Xyboard models, both of which are no longer listed on the company's revamped website (unless you do a Google search).
Woodside said on Tuesday that the new Texas facility is operated by contract manufacturer Flextronics, and has the capability to produce "tens of millions" of phones per year. The factory is only shelling out 100,000 units per week at the moment, a capped run that is only the first phase of a larger plan. The capacity will increase as consumer demand increases.
"When you set up to ramp a factory you need a plan, and we have shipment targets we need to make with our carrier partners, and where we need to be right now is 100,000 units and that's where we are," Woodside told Reuters. He didn’t say how many units shipped were specifically for carriers, and how many were ordered through the Moto Maker website.
Flextronics CEO Mike McNamara said on Tuesday that labor costs are more expensive here in the States, as workers are paid $12 to $14 per hour whereas they're only paid around $4 per hour in China. However, this cost is offset by the ability to provide custom phones within four days, as well as lower logistics and freight costs. There is a huge time-to-market savings when using a local factory, he said.
I bet they aren't even paid $1 per hour in China.