You knew there had to be a reason that the Nexus Q was announced at a $299 price point. My personal predictions ranged from solid gold resistors to real unicorn tears flowing through the snazzy LED ring that circles the device’s dome. Turns out I was way off. The Q owes its roadkill pricing to being Born in the USA (mostly).
That’s right: none other than the New York Times plays the role of Google spin stooge by reporting that “Google says the price is due in part to the higher costs of manufacturing in the United States.” If you want to know where in the U.S. the Q’s components are made – or which components aren’t – you’re going to have a slightly more difficult time of it:
Google is not saying a lot about its domestic manufacturing, refusing to even publicly disclose where the factory is in Silicon Valley. It also is not saying much about the source of many of its parts in the United States. And Mr. Rubin said the company is not engaged in a crusade.
If this PR stunt was an attempt to shame Apple for its overseas manufacturing, it’s a flop on at least three levels. First, as Tim Cook pointed out in his appearance at D10, Apple does manufacture components in the U.S.: the iPhone’s and iPad’s glass and A5 processors were mentioned specifically. Second, Google’s “Made in the U.S.A” label doesn’t stand up to scrutiny very well:
The engineers who led the effort to build the device, which is based on the same microprocessor used in Android smartphones and which contains seven printed circuit boards, found the maker of the zinc metal base in the Midwest and a supplier for the molded plastic components in Southern California. Semiconductor chips are more of a challenge. In some cases, the chips are made in the United States and shipped to Asia to be packaged with other electronic components.
So what is this – 51% manufactured in the United States? I know you want to be all modest, Andy, when you claim you’re “not engaged in a crusade”, but spill it. What was made where? Surely you don’t think device-makers will flock to the people who manufacture your overpriced set-top box just so they can disingenuously claim it was made in this country? Lastly, who does Google think this schtick is appealing to – aside from the NYT hacks who are lapping it up? Made in the U.S.A. may mean something to people choosing a pickup truck, but it means squat to people making up the consumer electronics market – especially when your kit is $200 more than your competition’s.
Like a lot of Google’s attempted spin, the “Born in the U.S.A.” crock is based on laughably incomplete information, designed to smear a competitor who doesn’t engage in the behavior as described and totally overvalues the message’s effect on the consumer.