During my stay in Korea, I was privy to visit one of Samsung’s manufacturing plants in Gumi, which is referred to as the Gumi complex (the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world) and ranks as the sixth largest company if it were its own entity. The Gumi Complex is large, I don’t remember the exact acreage, but it’s massive. There are onsite apartment buildings for employees in addition to the wellness center that houses a grocery store, movie theater, daycare, and other amenities that make life peachy keen. Gumi employees can also earn college degrees through the post-graduate level without ever leaving the complex.
I wasn’t able to snap any pictures while in the factory so you’ll have to take my word on how it all went down. I witnessed the U600’s (Ultra Edition II 10.9) assembly from the chipset to the final product. The process by which the chips are manufactured was impressive and the speed with which they were produced was staggering. From start to finish a U600 was done within six minutes or so. The shiny housing is outsourced, which reduces quite a bit of time for the handset to be assembled.
The final leg of the phone’s journey proved to the most fascinating. It goes through a series of tests administered by robot and human. It enters the line and the OS is immediately tested where various languages could be seen on the interface. A special SIM card is then inserted to test the antenna and if that weren’t enough, a line worker would install a battery and make a quick call. If any of the phones failed to operate at any point in the last line of QA checks it’s spewed out from the conveyor belt to be looked over. I tried very hard not to acquire one by accident. Heh.
The batch of U600s I saw were marked with T-Mobile branding, but me thinks we’ll be seeing this or some variation of it in the near future in the US. It could be the Mysto from Helio, but who really knows?