As part of a 19-day trip to explore and experience tech in seven cities in Asia, I joined a small group of journalists to tour a factory where Huawei makes its phones. It's fascinating stuff, but highly proprietary -- so I'm not allowed to say much. Here's what I can share without spilling any secrets.
1. You get to suit up
Cleanliness is key for any factory line, and Huawei tamps down contaminants by supplying every guest with a smock to button over street clothes, a hat and slip-on sandals. We crammed the rest of our stuff into lockers. I looked awesome (see photographic evidence of said awesomeness below). If you don't make it past the facility's metal detector, you don't go in -- and I appreciate that.
2. Robot arms are mesmerizing
I could stare at the whirring, dancing arms of production robots all day long. It's hypnotic. I ponder the feats of mechanical engineering required to create the machines that help make other machines.
3. You can make a lot of phones in a month
I can't share with you exactly how many phones this particular factory makes each month, but it's an impressive number. Phones are complex devices with a lot of parts, and watching them being built and tested each step of the way whips up real understanding for a process that's often taken for granted, from the first circuit board to the labeled shipping box.
A tremendous amount of work goes into making the phones in our pockets, so much more than is evident from just looking at the box.
Seeking tech, will travel
reading•Here are the three things I'm allowed to tell you about how phones are made
May 24•Everyday tech from Asia that I want to use every day, too
May 24•We need this tech everywhere, right now (pictures)
May 17•LG can't follow Apple, says VP, 'We have to be different'
May 12•Apple, Samsung rival Xiaomi readies itself for US 'battle'