Motorola Mobility, the mobile company currently on track to reclaim its position as a major player in the smartphone industry, opened a new factory in Fort Worth, Texas less than a year ago. The plant that employed 3,800 people is now being closed due to costs.
“We already have software developers and programmers, we need to make our country a viable place to run a factory” said Junior and AP Computer Science Student Nikolai Vasquez.
“Manufacturing or assembling smartphones in the U.S. was always going to end in tears for Motorola,” said Neil Mawston, an analyst for Strategy Analytics. “The U.S. is well positioned to design smartphones, as Apple does successfully, but manufacturing them is a whole different ballgame.” (source)
Many people, such as Vasquez, think that we need to encourage companies to bring their manufacturing operations to the US, which will bring more jobs and improve the domestic economy. China’s largest private employer, Foxconn Technology Group, currently manages 13 facilities in China, and plan on bringing their business to the US. One problem in this potential expansion is the price of manufacturing in the US. In order to create a platform for factory work, supporters of the manufacturing industry believe the government needs to make it an attractive option to operate here. Despite the increased cost and lowered efficency of US hardware manufacturing, large corporation like Apple and GM continue to assemble products domestically, a beacon of hope for the advancement of the hardware industry in the US.
“We don’t need factories, we need programmers and engineers, we should be looking beyond factories, people don’t make enough money working in factories, they can advance technology by studying and researching.” said AP Computer Science teacher and Robotics Club moderator Victor Moreno. He, like others, would prefer that the US look beyond assembling devices and machines. A report published by the National Science Foundation shows that the engineering and computer science fields are being flooded with graduates looking for work. The computer science field is rapidly expanding and evolving into the most profitable business in the world.
Unlike other fields of work, there is demand for all of these new students, and software hotspots like California’s Silicon Valley are the home of many software development innovators
Despite the assumption that the US minimum wage makes it too expensive to build products, many market analysts cite the speed and efficiency of US factories as the issue. “We have over 1 million workers. In the future we will add 1 million robotic workers.” said Foxconn Technology Group CEO Terry Gou at a shareholders meeting. The US has to compete not only in cost but also in efficiency and speed for large corporations to risk investing in domestic manufacturing. The advancement of robotic assembly machines will be another challenge as the nation attempts to establish its presence as a hardware assembly option.
As the fast-paced and volatile technology industry develops and establishes trends all around the world, we will soon see how the country fits into the picture.