Motorola Moves To Make Phones In Texas

Motorola Mobility has announced that it is opening a smartphone factory in Texas. While the company was once among the leaders in outsourcing to China, the smartphone maker is part of a movement toward bringing technology jobs back to the United States.

The move comes as other companies like Apple and Lenovo are planning to add U.S. manufacturing capacity. While some see this as a PR move designed to mollify members of congress, Motorola Mobility officials said they see business logic to having a factory close to the engineers who are designing a new flagship smartphone.

“Doing that work of actually assembling the phone close to home will allow us to fix things faster, innovate faster,” said Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola Mobility.

The Moto X will be the first phone designed entirely under Google’s ownership. While the manufacturing in the U.S. meets the preferences of Americans, many of the 1,100 component parts will still be made overseas.

“You would have said five years ago this would have been impossible,” said Scott N. Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “It’s interesting that you’re seeing this getting started now. It’s possible this could be part of a larger trend.”

The Moto X will be designed to streamline some common functions, such as taking a picture, to make the process faster and easier for users. The Texas factory will produce smartphones for the U.S. and Mexican markets, allowing for faster shipping times and making it easier for engineers to make changes like colors beyond the standard black or white in response to shifting customer tastes.

“It’s definitely designed to have a much different look and feel than other smartphones and a much purer Google experience,” said Mark Randall, senior vice president for supply chain and operations for Motorola Mobility.

The Fort Worth factory is in a foreign trade zone that has tax advantages for exporters. “Motorola Mobility’s decision to manufacture its new smartphone and create thousands of new jobs in Texas is great news for our growing state,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry said in a statement. “Our strong, healthy economy, built on a foundation of low taxes, smart regulation, fair legal system and a skilled workforce is attracting companies from across the country and around the world.”


Sony CEO: PS4 Focus Is On Games

Sony was bit early on in this generation of game consoles by issuing confusing messages about the utility of the PS3. Sony CEO Kaz Hirai made no bones about what the focus of the PS4 will be at the D11 conference.

“The most important thing we need to do is agree and understand that the PS4 is a great video game console that appeals to video gamers,” he said. “If we miss that part, I don’t think we get the initial establishment of the console. That formula has worked for us with all our consoles, including the PS3.”

PS4: Artist’s Concept

“Providing other non-game content is an area we will reveal and talk about in the coming months, but it’s first and foremost a video game console,” he added.

Source: CVG

Rhode Island Considering Defaulting On 38 Studios Debt

Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee (who recently joined the Democratic party) is considering the consequences of his state not paying back the lenders who financed 38 Studios. They are currently maintaining the position that the state must pay the debts back.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says that the governor’s position has not changed, but that “doesn’t mean you don’t analyze what the situation is, or gather data to understand the ramifications of what that decision would be.” She also noted the state has been gathering the relevant information for several months.

The current plan would have Rhode Island paying an initial $2.5-million payment, followed by $12.5 million each of the following seven years. The state is currently on the hook to pay roughly $112.6 million ($75 million for the initial borrowing and $37.6 million in interest) over 10 years.


Games Journalism Prizes First Winners Revealed

The first winners of the Games Journalism Prizes have been revealed in Christian Donlan from Eurogamer, Jason Schwartz at the Boston Magazine and Tom Bissell at Grantland. Nominations for next year’s awards are now open at

“We’re glad that we’re finally able to announce the winners of the Prizes,” said advisory panel member Dan Griliopoulos. “The three winning pieces are exceptionally good, but whittling down from the longlists and shortlists was no easy matter – many thanks must go to our long-suffering judging panel for reading over a thousand submissions during the last ten months. Given the quality of writing about games so far in 2013, this year’s prize is promising to be even more difficult to judge.”

“This has been a lovely surprise, and I really appreciate it. With Night and the City, I was very lucky to be handed a story that not even I could screw up, and I was equally fortunate when it comes to the editorial team at Eurogamer, who are always willing to take risks with features,” noted Donlan. “If you strip away all the family history and the indulgence in what I wrote, I think what you’re left with is an example of the sheer power of games – of how they surprised my dad with the things they could be, and took him back to the era he grew up in. That sort of thing is always worth writing about, hopefully.”

Humble Indie Bundle 8 Rockets Off The Starting Line

The eighth Humble Indie Bundle has launched and its already off to a flying start. Over 220,000 people have bought the bundle over the period of a couple days, pulling in over $1.2 million with roughly 12 days remaining.

Humble Indie Bundle 8 includes Thomas Was Alone, Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized and Dear Esther, along with soundtracks for most of the games. Those that donate over the median will also receive Hotline Miami and Proteus.

Supercell Brings Playfish Co-Founder Onto Board

Supercell today announced that it has appointed Kristian Segerstrale, co-founder of Playfish and Macrospace, to its board of directors. Segerstrale says he was impressed by the Clash of Clans and Hay Day developer for remaining disciplined and not hiring up to push out more games quickly.

“I don’t think mobile games companies that are successful like Supercell right now should try to be the next Disney, or EA, or Pixar,” Segerstrale said. “Actually, the world is in such an interesting place that Supercell should just be Supercell, and what I’m hoping to do is contribute my experience and learnings and successes and failures to that management team’s thinking.”

“The future vision of the industry is one where people will no longer play as much on these shared screens in the living room, and media consumption as a whole will continue to gravitate toward personal screens,” Segerstrale continued, adding about social games, “It initially blew up as a vertical and was gaming on Facebook, but after that it took more of a horizontal turn, to where gaming initially on mobile and tablets and now consoles and everywhere else [now] incorporate social gaming elements. And many of the principles that were built up in social gaming around microtransactions, games-as-a-service, and events have actually transcended Facebook to become just part of the fabric of the gaming industry.”


Google Announces Gmail Sorting Tabs

Google has announced that they are redesigning the Gmail inbox. The new change delivers incoming emails in five different categories: primary, social, promotions, updates and forums.

This move is designed to ease the process of sorting emails by allowing users to see what’s new in the inbox at a glance. It’s a feature that many of Gmail’s more than 425 million users have been looking for.

“We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more,” said product manager Itamar Gila. “All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.”

The primary category has messages from friends and family, while social has messages from social networks, online dating services, gaming platforms and so on. In promotions are deals, offers and other similar emails and updates haas bills, statements, receipts and confirmations while forums have messages from discussion boards, mailing lists and the like.

Users can choose to sort your mail with all five categories or remove any that don’t work. The new categories will appear as different tabs in the inbox.

The new inbox will roll out over the next few weeks. Users can opt out and switch to “classic” view or to another inbox type.

Source: L.A. Times