There's still some debate over whether the return of manufacturing to the U.S. -- "reshoring," it's called -- is a lasting trend or just a bump on the road toward an entirely knowledge-based economy. Some experts suggest it's merely a byproduct of the recession. But there's no doubt that it's happening. Ford, Caterpiller, GE and Apple have all made high-profile decision to bring some manufacturing operations back from overseas.
None of those moves involved smartphones, every single one of which is assembled in another country. But this week, Motorola Mobility announced it will be assembling its new Moto X phone at a new manufacturing plant in Fort Worth.
The company explains its thought process:
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There were a few reasons why we decided to do this. There are several business advantages to having our Illinois and California-based designers and engineers much closer to our factory. 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. And as a part of Google we're being encouraged to take big bets on things that make a difference.
The phone itself has been the subject of much buzz in the tech blogosphere. Until this week, the leaked photos and shifting details had turned the phone into "somewhat of a mythical creature," in the words of Android Spin. The emergence of solid evidence that the phone is indeed on its way was greeted with joy.
Rick Perry is less enthused about the phone than the 2,000 jobs it brings to Texas. He greeted Motorola Mobility's announcement with a triumphant press release by Governor Rick Perry, who took the opportunity to boast of Texas' robust economy, low taxes, and light regulation.
Meanwhile, the company is already looking for workers.