Google’s new wireless home media player, the Nexus Q, features something you won’t find on too many other electric devices these day.
No, it’s not some crazy new microchip, it’s a simple laser etched tag that says, “Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A”.
A novelty to be sure, most companies have abandoned the high costs of American manufacturing in favor of low-cost Chinese manufacturing. In fact, it has been a long time since we have seen any significant electronics manufacturing in America. According to Andy Rubin, the Google executive who leads the company’s Android mobile business, they aren’t trying bring back American manufacturing they’re just trying it out.
But while some companies are enjoying the low cost, and reduced regulation that comes with foreign manufacturing, others find the increased lead times and reduced flexibility too limiting. When you’re talking about high-tech and custom order, you need realtime feedback and fast turnaround times. That’s where the quality comes from.
Besides, heading off to China for a couple weeks to fix a manufacturing issue can leave headquarters back in the United States at a disadvantage and short staffed. Perhaps some of these issues are at the heart of Google’s decision to manufacture and design the new Nexus Q devices in Silicon Valley rather than some far away land.