Google’s new wireless Nexus Q media player was designed and manufactured in America. In recent interviews, Google’s engineers repeatedly stressed the fact that it was a significant advantage to have design close to manufacturing, especially as they closely integrate their software and hardware. Google engineer Matt Hershenson claimed, “For us it’s really great that we can be at our desk in the morning, have meetings with hardware and software people, and then a subset of that team can be in the factory in the afternoon. The time it takes from being in the assembly process to being in the living room of a product tester we can measure in hours and not days.”
For the past year we have written about the move of manufacturing back to the United States. For technology companies, one of the roadblocks to such a move has been finding enough component suppliers nearby. However, if enough technology companies such as Google begin experimenting with U.S. manufacturing, the component suppliers will soon follow, creating the potential for a virtuous circle.