With the debut of the iPhone 5S and 5C on Tuesday and the variety of powerful Android devices that have been introduced in the past few months, the Apple vs. Android battle is beginning to equal the Mac vs. PC battles of the 80’s and 90’s. In years past, the market had Macs trading functionality and adaptability for user experience and trendy design and stodgy PCs offering bland designs in exchange for a more adaptable, functional system.

Now, it’s Android offering the adaptable, functional system and also providing the enhanced user experience and trendy design, specifically through the new Motorola Moto X. They pull it off by incorporating a lot of cutting edge manufacturing techniques and a fully optimized supply chain.

The Moto X is available from carriers, online and in-store, in black and white versions. In addition, Motorola is also offering a variety of customization options through its MotoMaker site, offering 18 color and texture options for the case, seven color options for the power button, volume buttons, and camera bezel, along with options for engraving. Additionally, the company can have the phone synced with your information and have it arrive with your desired background image selected.

With all of these customization options, the company can still deliver the phone at its standard retail price (if you’d like to buy a subsidized version, your carrier will give you a unique product key to enter on the website when you sign your contract). And as the deal enhancer, the custom phone will arrive at your door in five days or less.

How they pull this off is where the optimized processes come in. The parts are manufactured overseas through typical low cost country arrangements. Instead of being assembled there, however, the raw parts are shipped to an old Nokia factory in Ft. Worth, TX that is now the site of a complex Motorola assembly line, retrofitted and made operational in just under five months. The custom phones are assembled by hand before getting thoroughly tested and shipped out.

Other than color/engraving, the only variable on the phone is the cellular radios installed (CDMA for Verizon & Sprint, GSM for the others) and the memory allotment (16GB or 32GB). So while the phone gives the impression of endless customization, its components can, for the most part, be ordered in large scale and warehoused. By assembling in the U.S. close to a major airline hub (Dallas/Ft. Worth area), the short shipping time is made much more affordable for Motorola.

The process is working well enough that Motorola is considering introducing a MotoMaker-crafted tablet, further enhancing the resources available at the Texas manufacturing facility leading to positive impacts for the company’s manufacturing budget. 


Photo courtesy of AndroidBeat.com
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Yevgeniy Kravets

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