The Google Nexus Q is a home media player that was just unveiled yesterday during the Google IO keynote. It is an Google experiment (in a crowded market) that is well designed, attractive and hard to build. Interestingly, the Google Nexus Q is also an experiment in USA-based manufacturing. At the bottom of the device, there’s a sticker which says “Made in the USA”. This is almost symbolic for a company that has had strained relations with the Chinese government.
Talking to the NYTimes, Andy Rubin (the Android business General Manager) said that Goole wanted to try manufacturing “something” in the USA, and thought ‘Why don’t we try it and see what happens?’ The google Nexus Q is an ideal test candidate as it is hard to build, but quantities should be low at the same time.
Over the years, most of the electronics manufacturing has moved to China and Taiwan along with the know-how. Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, even said to President Obama “these jobs are not coming back”. While this started (and still) is a matter of Chinese low-wages, losing the manufacturing know how and overall infrastructure has grown to a problem that many think is unsolvable.
Google keeps a tight lid on the manufacturing of this device, and wouldn’t disclose which company builds it for them. However, it is believed that the plant is located in Silicon Valley. It will be interesting to see what lessons can be learned from this, and if the process of manufacturing in the USA can be genuinely revived in a way that makes economical sense. Like then or not, Google is a data-driven company, and this is something that no-one will deny. What do you think of this? Is it the start of something larger?