While this is not much, it marks the most significant effort to revive the iconic company after Google bought it last year. Motorola hopes that colour-customization, voice-activated software and its homegrown pedigree will help the company narrow the gap with market leaders Apple and Samsung.
True, labour costs are running about three times higher than if the devices were built in China and it is hard to find people with opposable thumbs, but when the plant ramps up things could get better. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said that the Texas facility, operated by contract manufacturer Flextronics, was capable of producing "tens of millions" of phones a year but expansion depended on demand.
The factory's current output of 100,000 units a week is only the first phase of a larger cunning plan, he said. He would not say how many of the phones now being shipped were standard models sold by wireless carriers, and how many were custom-designed models that consumers ordered directly from Motorola's website. He said only that custom orders were "substantial" and Motorola was selling the phones at a profit.