'Situation-aware' Moto X will be made in old Nokia factory

'Situation-aware' Moto X will be made in old Nokia factory

Summary: Google's Motorola will build its new flagship in a US facility that once pumped out Nokia phones.

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Google's Motorola Mobility unit has confirmed that the rumoured Moto X smartphone is real, will be made in the US and released this year.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside revealed the company's planned high-end rival to Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone will be launched sometime between now and October, part of a portfolio refresh that will see Motorola debut a "handful" of new devices.

Speaking at the D11 conference on Wednesday, Woodside said the Moto X, which he refused to show but said was in his pocket, would be aware of the situation it was in: for example, it the device is in a car, it will know when the vehicle is on, off or in motion.

And, being situation-aware, it will be able to adjust its functionality accordingly: it will fire up the camera when a person takes it out of their pocket, but only in situations where they might want it to launch, Woodside said.

Google is also keeping step with the current political hunger in the US for products to carry the "made in the USA" badge, joining Apple in bringing some manufacturing back to the country. Like Apple, Google's US manufacturing will be based in Texas. 

Woodside said that 70 percent of the assembly for the Moto X will be done at a facility in Fort Worth Texas that was once owned by Nokia.

"We're building it in Texas. We are going to employ about 2,000 people before August in that manufacturing facility," said Woodside.

"It's right outside of Fort Worth. It's going to be a 500,000 square foot facility that was used about 15 years ago and manufactured Nokia phones. And at one point in time Nokia had 6,000 people working at this facility and a number of the supply chain companies that built materials that went into the device all went into the office part around the facility. So we think that's going to allow us to iterate a lot faster."

Woodside did not say how much the Moto X would cost, but acknowledged that it would be designed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.

He also addressed questions over the authenticity of the Great Wall of China-like separation between Google and Motorola.

Motorola is owned and funded by Google, and it receives finance and legal support from Google, but Woodside stressed Android was "completely separate".

"We have no access to Android code, which is what you'd want. We are managed by their partner managers. We have meetings where partner managers are with us as they are with other partners. There is no advantage that has been conferred to us," he said.

On the other hand, Motorola has brought over Google engineers; however, they would have to give up their Google badges once they joined the company.

Google CEO Larry Page had seen the Moto X along with other unreleased devices from other manufacturers, Woodside said.

Topics: Google, Hardware, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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2 comments
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  • google also treats moto employees as second class

    They don't get the Google employee benes. Now that the Moto patents have been proven (repeatedly) a disastrous $13B flop for Google their probably going to start looking to shed Moto. And Moto isn't coming out with any iPhone or galaxy killing phone this year or any other. Their market share is back on the decline now that Verizon doesn't need them anymore.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Windows Phone's Loss, Android's Gain

    Imagine if Nokia had made the right platform choice to begin with, that could have been its brand name on the Android phones coming off that production line...
    ldo17