The newly announced Nexus Q, which was demonstrated at Google I/O 2012 as a “social media player”, is designed and manufactured in the good ‘ol US of A. This sheds a bit of light on why the price point may seem noncompetitive when devices like Apple TV, Roku, XBox or even Google’s own Google TV seem to line up as a better deal when doing a side-by-side comparison between the devices.
According to the New York Times, Google executives and engineers decided to “experiment” in American manufacturing. “We’ve been absent for so long, we decided, ‘Why don’t we try it and see what happens?’ ” said Andy Rubin, the head honcho behind Android’s mobile business.
Google has been tight lipped about the Nexus Q’s domestic manufacturer and its location. Google has also been mum about the source of many of the Nexus Q parts. Rubin has gone as far as saying that the move wasn’t a flag to let the rest of the electronic companies to push for American made products.
It has been a long time since electronics have been made in America.
Since the 1990s, one American company after another, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Apple, has become a design and marketing shell, with production shifted to contract manufacturers in Shenzhen and elsewhere in China.
Now that trend may be showing early signs of reversing.
It’s encouraging to see tech and electronics manufacturing come back to the U.S. but it obviously comes at a cost. However, this maybe changing. With Google being a well-recognized brand, the sales of the Nexus Q will stand as a gauge for other OEMs to think about how they can control quality and provide support to products in the US. As automation in the U.S. becomes more efficient, so will the support of the products. Manufacturing in the USA allows samples and orders for smaller quantities. Faster deliveries and Face-to-face quality control can happen as opposed to paying in full for overseas before goods leave the port, not to mention risk for damage, slow transit, high potential theft of IP and language barriers just to name a few.
“The companies who are investing in technology in the U.S.A. are more nimble and agile,” said Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore, which continues to manufacture in the United States by relying on automation technologies. “Parts are made quicker, and the quality is better.”
It almost seems counter to Google’s goals when the company talks about Nexus Q’s features and price without advertising the device’s American origin. We can only guess that the search giant is hoping that early adopters will pay for the suggested price and lead the product to a more lower price point in the future as they increase volume. NYT believes that it’s unlikely that the “Made in America” lineage will be part of any Google’s marketing campaign for the Q. I couldn’t agree more.