Google’s Moto Maker smartphone customisation rollout slowed by supply chain issues

Google has revealed the rollout of its Moto Maker smartphone customisation service internationally is being hampered by the need to re-engineer its supply chain, but still hopes to roll the service out to new markets next year.

Currently, Google’s Motorola hardware subsidiary allows consumers in the US to create a customised Moto X smartphone through the customisation website.

During the interview, Motorola chief executive Dennis Woodside announces that the company is planning to roll the service out across Europe next year, although there’s no word on whether it will reach Australia.

“We wanted to make sure we were successful in our home market in the US and also in Latin America where we’re already strong, before we go outside with Moto X.

“Moto X is available now all throughout Latin America. In fact, in some places like Chile and Brazil, it’s among the top-selling smartphones right now, so the market is clearly there.

“We’re working to bring Moto Maker into Latin America, so you have the customisation option as well. There’s a much more limited set of customisation options we have made available, mostly in Brazil.

“Outside Latin America, we’re exploring a bunch of places, Europe is obviously a key area for us. So I would just say ‘stay tuned’, we’re going to get there, certainly, sometime in the next year.”

Woodside also explains the “challenging” logistical challenges involved with a service such as Moto Maker, which involves re-engineering the company’s supply chain in every country it’s introduced to.

“One of the challenges with Moto Maker is you need to be close to the consumer. So we really had to re-engineer our whole supply chain to bring Moto Maker to consumers.

“And that will be the same for any other country we want to bring Moto Maker in; we really have to think through the supply chain issues, which are challenging.”

When the service was initially announced, wood was to be offered as a possible option. Woodside explains the difficulties involved in adding unconventional materials as an option.

“We’re working hard to get wood into the mix. The issue is simply getting the product manufacturable and making sure that we’re using materials that are sustainable.”

“I want to say coming soon – and my team won’t let me say more than that – but believe me, it’s soon.”

“What’s really cool about Moto Maker is it’s really just the start. We can do lots of things with many different materials over time, which we’re working on for next year and even into the early part of January/February.

“Each time you do a new material, you have to test all the radio frequencies and make sure the phone still works, so it’s tough to add new materials into the mix

The Moto X and Moto Maker service was first unveiled during August, with manufacturing capacity at its US factory hitting 100,000 units per day during September.

More recently, in an embarrassing episode, the Moto Maker website crashed as a result of a large number of visitors during Cyber Monday.

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