Mike Isaac

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Made in the USA: With Nexus Q, Google Brings Manufacturing Back to the States

It’s a familiar adage: All of the U.S. manufacturing jobs have gone overseas.

Google is bucking convention. The Nexus Q, Google’s first foray into designing and producing its own hardware in-house, will be manufactured inside the United States, not overseas.

Google isn’t disclosing the manufacturing locations, mostly for competitive reasons. But making the product from inside the States gives Google a leg up on overseas operations in terms of testing, tweaking and having more control over the product throughout the hardware design process. Instead of having multiple product managers fly back and forth between continents, directors of hardware Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt have more immediate access to the product, straight from the assembly line. (Wired has an excellent inside take on it.)

This is an obvious slap in the face for Apple, which most recently made headlines after controversial news involving its relationship with Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese partner manufacturers. Apple has spawned thousands of jobs creating iPads, iPhones and laptops overseas in China, with literal dormitories built to house the workers on Foxconn’s campus. What’s more, those working conditions aren’t regulated the way they are in the U.S., allowing for easier exploitation of workers and vastly reduced wages. Not so with Google’s manufacturing supply chain.

Of course, it’s likely that the Nexus Q will ship on a much smaller scale than Apple has set up for its hardware manufacturing chain, in part because it’s not clear what the demand for the Q will actually be. And, as we all know, Apple’s product demand soars.

But still, it’s a perfect time to win over those irked by Apple’s manufacturing methods. We’ll see if it shows in the sales numbers.


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