Motorola to make new smartphone in Fort Worth, add 2,000 jobs

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Updated Thursday, May 30 at 11:41 AM

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Would you be more willing to buy a new smartphone if you knew it was made in Texas?
Flextronics plant

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NOTE: The job listing site is extremely busy with traffic and taking long periods to upload

FORT WORTH — History is going to be made, but it's also going to be repeated.

An enormous facility at 5650 Alliance Gateway Freeway built in the 1980s used to be a cell phone manufacturing plant. At one point, more than 5,000 people worked there, producing mobile phones for Nokia.

Then the jobs moved overseas.

But now, a comeback.

"This is a huge day for the U.S. consumer electronics industry," said Motorola Mobility executive Mark Randall. "We're excited we're coming back."

Motorola announced Wednesday the company's new flagship phone, the Moto X, will be made in Fort Worth. It will be the first smartphone every built in the United States.

Motorola's manufacturing partner is Flextronics, which will continue to produce devices at other factories in China and Brazil.

Randall said Motorola had lots of other cities and locations to choose from, but Dallas-Fort Worth made sense.

The company received no tax incentives, he said.

"Dallas-Fort Worth has a strong history of mobile," Randall said, "Motorola, Erickson, Nokia were here. The DNA has mobile in it."

Logistically, he said far north Fort Worth is the perfect fit. "Alliance is here. D/FW Airport is 15 minutes away. The I-35 corridor means we're close to getting the products to our consumers. That's what we want to do," Randall said.

The Android Authority blog reported that the Moto X will have components made in 12 states along with processors from Japan and displays from Korea.

Flextronics is already hiring. There will be approximately 2,000 new jobs in the region.

"When you have a facility with 2,000 people, you need general managers, someone in quality control, someone in manufacturing," Randall said. "You need IT people. There are all levels — entry levels, college degrees."

More than 150 openings were posted online Thursday night.

In a written statement, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Motorola's announcement is great news for Texas.

"Our strong, healthy economy, built on a foundation of low taxes, smart regulation, a fair legal system, and a skilled workforce, is attracting companies from across the country and around the world," Perry said.

Work has been going on at the Flextronics facility for several months, with few if any employees aware of what they were actually building.

There's a considerable amount of secrecy surrounding the actual product, too. Randall said he had a Moto X in his pocket, but he declined to show it off.

"It's going to have some cool features I can't share right now, but it's going to look and feel like no other cell phone, so we're really excited about it," he promised.

He called it "super cool."

The phone is considered the flagship of the line, which Randall said means it will be high-end.

Randall said they expect to fill those 2,000 jobs by late summer, with the phone debuting this fall.

Motorola Mobility is owned by Google, developers of the popular Android operating system.

"As a part of Google, we're being encouraged to take big bets on things that make a difference," Motorola said in an online blog.

Earlier this year, iPhone maker Apple said it would build a new campus in Austin, adding 3,600 jobs over the next 10 years.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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