New smartphone ‘Made in the U.S.A.’

NEW YORK — Motorola’s new Moto X phone doesn’t cost more to make simply because it’s assembled in Texas, research firm IHS said Wednesday.

The Moto X is the first smartphone to carry the “Made in the U.S.A.” designation. Labor costs are higher in the U.S. compared with Asian factories, where phones are typically made. But IHS said the Moto X is about 5 percent cheaper to make than Samsung Electronic Co.’s flagship Galaxy S4 phone. The firm said the Moto X’s overall production cost is just 9 percent more than that of Apple’s iPhone 5.

The findings come as little surprise, as the labor cost of a phone is just a small part of its production cost. IHS estimates that labor and other assembly costs Motorola $12 per phone for the Moto X, bringing the production cost to $226. That compares with $207 for the iPhone 5 and $237 for the Galaxy S4. IHS said Motorola is able to keep the cost of parts low by using standard components that don’t break much new ground.

By assembling the phone in Fort Worth, Texas, Motorola is able to let customers order custom designs online for delivery within four days. Standard black or white models are available immediately at retail stores.

“With the Moto X, Motorola is reaping the public-relations and customization upsides of producing a smartphone in the United States, while maintaining competitive hardware costs,” said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director for cost benchmarking services at IHS.

IHS said the estimated $12 for assembly is about $3.50 to $4 more than other leading phones.

“Our initial estimate suggests the additional costs of onshoring the Moto X are relatively low,” IHS said.

The phone went on sale last Friday, starting with AT&T. It’s coming to other carriers, including Verizon this week. The Moto X’s price is about $200 with a two-year service agreement.

The Moto X is Motorola’s first phone designed from the start under its new owner, Google Inc. The Internet search company bought Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion last year.

More in Herald Business Journal

Sign of the future: Snohomish business aims to reshape industry

Manifest Signs owner thinks that smart signs is an unexplored and untapped part of his industry.

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Panel: Motorcycle industry in deep trouble and needs help

They have failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.

Costco rises as results display big-box retailer’s resiliency

Their model has worked in the face of heightened competition from online, brick-and-mortar peers.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Under cloud of ethics probes, Airbus CEO Enders to step down

He leaves in 2019 after 14 years. Meanwhile, aircraft division CEO Fabrice Bregier leaves in February.