Visiting FIC's factory for GTA01 mass production in Suzhou

Yesterday I was on a ten-hour trip from Taipei to Suzhou in mainland China. It took about ten hours for something like a 300km line-of-sight distance, since the Taiwan/China political dispute over The Three Links doesn't allow any direct flights. So we had to go from Taipei to Hong-Kong, transfer onto a different flight to Shanghai, and then start for a couple of hours car ride to Suzhou.

The trip was quite impressive, especially since I have seen a lot more of Shanghai then during my summer 2006 trip to the FIC Shanghai branch. In fact, the sight of so many [strangely-looking] dense, high-rise apartment buildings with 25, 30 or more floors in the suburbs reminded me quite a lot of the classic 1927 Metropolis movie. This impression was probably further enhanced by the thick clouds of smog covering all of the sky, resulting in even non-grey objects look grey, giving the impression of a more-or-less gray-scale world...

In any case, let's not deliberate more about my general thoughts about China, Shanghai or Suzhou at this point, but get to the actual work: Today I spent at the FIC Suzhou factory, mainly doing final QA/Testing of the first 300 Neo1973 GTA01 phones. While I was doing this, another 192 phones went through assembly, resulting in a total of 492 units available at this time. We have another 500 units pending throughout the next two weeks.

The overall quality of my QA checks was quite good. The factory is doing a good job, and we could not detect any production-introduced bugs. The tools provided to the factory for programming/testing of the hardware leave quite a bit of room for optimization though. Will have to start this optimization process next week, after my return to Taipei.

This also means that we can finally make another announcement about the overall project status very shortly. And it means that as soon as the web-shop is up and running, developers will finally be able to purchase Neo1973 GTA01. 8 months too late. Sorry for that. Too much politics and too little actual technical work. All fixed now. Bright future ahead :)