Yes, Android is a free and open platform but...

Android is free to device makers, but it seems there are a few catches.

A couple of documents examined by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday show that Android phone and tablet makers must adhere to a strict set of conditions if they want access to key apps when adopting Google's free and open mobile operating system. Device manufacturers are required to preinstall certain Google apps, set Google as the default search provider, and ensure that the Search and Play Store icons are placed "at least on the panel immediately adjacent to the Default Home Screen," according … Read more

Apple's Arizona plant could make 'unprecedented' amounts of sapphire

Apple's new Arizona factory could manufacture "unprecedented" amounts of synthetic sapphire used to make stronger iPhone screens, according to a report.

The factory will make as much as double the current global capacity of sapphire, according to Yole Developpement analyst Eric Virey, via Bloomberg. That's enough for 80 million to 100 million iPhones a year, the report said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in November announced that Apple was building a factory in Mesa, Arizona, to manufacture sapphire materials. And Apple late last year signed a contract with GT Advanced to produce sapphire-based materials at Apple's … Read more

Georgia Tech uses human arm sensors to make robots safer

Imagine you work in a manufacturing plant where your job is to hang a car door on a hinge with the help of a large robot. You're using a lever to guide the bot to the precise drop-off location, so you need to be close enough to see what you're doing. Chances are, you want this bot to be as intelligent as possible, unless of course you're willing to risk life and limb for some kind of disability pay.

Well, the good folks at Georgia Institute of Technology are working hard on the intelligence factor -- devising a control system to make robots smarterRead more

Intel puts new Arizona chip factory on back burner

The use of Intel's most heralded factory is being put on hold indefinitely. The company's "Fab 42" manufacturing plant in Chandler, Ariz., which was slated to make high-tech microchips, will not be opening up for shop anytime soon, according to Reuters.

"The new construction is going to be left vacant for now and it will be targeted at future technologies," Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy told Reuters.

Intel began construction on Fab 42 in 2011. The plant was expected to produce Intel's next generation of processors built on its 14-nanometer technology. At the start … Read more

Apple's rumored iWatch delays due to manufacturing issues?

Screen technology, battery issues, and corporate shuffling may be some of the reasons for the delay in the release of Apple's expected iWatch. While all product development hits snags, a report from The Information points to these "bumps" as some of the possible setbacks in the company's rumored smartwatch development.

Apparently, Apple hasn't yet definitively decided on what kind of screen technology to use due to battery issues. However, this is common with lots of smartwatch manufacturing since the wearable's real estate is much smaller than a smartphone or tablet.

According to The Information, … Read more

Foxconn set for US with $40M investment in Pennsylvania

China's Foxconn, best known for building Apple products, is bringing an operation to the US.

The company announced Thursday that it will invest $30 million over two years into a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. The facility, which will be in Harrisburg, will be used to develop robotic equipment. Foxconn will also invest $10 million into research and development at Carnegie Mellon University as part of the arrangement.

Bloomberg earlier reported on the investment.

According to Foxconn chief Terry Gou, the company will create 500 jobs in Pennsylvania with the facility. Foxconn has another plant in the area that accounts … Read more

Apple to build made-in-the-USA manufacturing plant in Arizona

Apple executives have been talking about creating more manufacturing jobs in the US for the past year, and on Monday the company put its money where its mouth is.

The iPhone maker announced that its newest US manufacturing facility is slated to be built in Mesa, Ariz. Apple aims to create thousands of jobs and run the facility on 100 percent renewable energy.

"We are proud to expand our domestic manufacturing initiative with a new facility in Arizona, creating more than 2,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing, and construction," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told CNET. "This new … Read more

$116 laser 3D printer lights up Kickstarter

Life's peachy for the Peachy Printer, a prototype 3D printer that collected more than $140,000 on Kickstarter in a little more than 48 hours.

What's causing all of the hubbub? People mostly seem attracted to Peachy's open-source hardware and software, as well as the catchphrase that refers to the device as "the world's cheapest 3D printer." With a suggested price point of $116 (per kit) that would most certainly be a true statement, but there are a few catches -- more on that in a bit.… Read more

Moto X pays a premium to be a made-in-America smartphone

Motorola's Moto X has been touted as the company's foray into well-crafted superphones. It appears that to create such a product, Google is reportedly laying down some serious cash in the manufacturing process -- namely, $221 per phone.

That's quite a lot for a device that costs consumers $579 without a contract and $199 with a two-year contract. For comparison, Apple's most expensive smartphone to build is its iPhone 5, which is said to cost $167.50 per unit.

Even though Moto X is said to cost a fair amount to build, it's not actually … Read more

Globalfoundries' $6 billion New York chip plant waits for Apple

Build it and Apple will come?

Globalfoundries has a spanking-new $6 billion semiconductor plant/campus (though, when an additional development center is construced, will be valued at $8 billion) in Saratoga County, N.Y., ready to make world-class chips for smartphones and tablets.

But no big customers. At least, nothing like Apple.

Then speculation surfaced Friday about Apple eyeing Globalfoundries as a possible maker of its chips, or even as a partner in a joint venture.

That could turn upstate New York's silicon corridor into something more akin to Silicon Valley. You know, like back in the day, when … Read more