In 2013, Motorola Mobility, then owned by Google, released the Moto X Android phone. It was assembled here in the United States of America. It was the closest thing to a phone manufactured in the US. Google eventually sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. You could say that the Moto X was the last of phones made in America, at least from the well-known brands.
2013 is a long time ago in the world of mobile phones. A lifetime. Since then, all the brands that you love and buy – Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Moto, Nokia, OnePlus, and others – have all manufactured their phones outside of America. Some manufacturing have taken place in locations like Brazil, China, Vietnam, Korea, and India. In recent years, most of it happened in China.
Some of these phone brands have been looking to reduce their risk in China and have started exploring other locations. For example, Some iPhones, Samsung phones, Motorola Moto phones, and Nokia phones are now made in India. Other phone brands that are not popular here in America are also moving some of their manufacturing to India.
But this doesn’t solve the problem of a lack of phones made in America. If you have been in search of phones made in America and have been disappointed to not have found one that you can buy, I have good news for you: that will change soon enough. Why is that so? For starters, the core components in all smartphones is the chipset, also called a processor. A number of top chip makers are now investing in manufacturing facilities here in America (see: Made-in-America Chips by TSMC, Intel, Micron, Samsung to boost local production).
Chips are highly complex components that require the most specialized skills. Once we have enough chips being manufactured here in America, the next logical step is the production of phones here. No doubt, some components, like screens and batteries, might still be imported, but the core components will be made here and the products assembled right here.
Give it another 3 years – that will be 2025 – and I am convinced that we should have a small handful of phones made in America in stores around the country again. Will brands like Apple and Samsung stop manufacturing phones overseas entirely? I doubt it. The overseas markets are highly competitive in terms of pricing, thanks to products made in China and India. Most brand will likely continue to make phones for the foreign market at those two locations, if they are to be able to compete internationally. But for local consumption here, I expect that only phones from the major brands (read iPhone and Samsung) that are made in America will be found in stores.