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This might not be all that surprising, given that the Nexus 5 is also the cheapest of the four, but I would have expected the HTC One M8 and its metal chassis to fare a little better. Check out the drop-and-dunk test below and let us know in the comments how you've tortured these phones in real life and how they fared. The sadists at SquareTrade put the latest and greatest through the paces. Samsung's Galaxy S5 seemed to prove again that plastic is nothing to be ashamed of. Torture-testing smartphones and tablets has become a joyous rite of passage with each new generation of flagship phones. Now that the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 are roaming the wild, the folks at gadget warranty outlet SquareTrade dropped and dunked both, as well as the iPhone 5S and the Nexus 5 to test the relative toughness of these top flight contenders.

In this episode of Update, you'll understand why the next tech battle is heading to the sky, Google and Facebook are working on bringing Internet access to areas of the world that are not online, Google's purchase of Titan Aerospace could aid in that mission, With solar-powered aircraft joining Project Loon, Google becomes a floating Internet provider, Facebook was also interested in buying Titan, but instead the social network spent $20 million to buy a similar company, Ascenta, As for the future of gadgets, Google Glass may evolve into smart contact lenses, Google submitted a patent for a contact lens with a micro camera and sensors, It wouldn't be the first smart contact out there, Google also has been testing contacts to help diabetics iphone case x max by measuring the glucose levels in tears, And the military is looking into dual-focus contacts that let you clearly see objects near and far at the same time, without messing up your vision..

And today's video ends with a look at leaked photos of Amazon's smartphone, published by BGR. Five camera sensors? Sexy. CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below. iTunes (HD) | iTunes (SD) | iTunes (HQ). RSS (HD) | RSS (SD) | RSS (HQ). Google buys Titan Aerospace with a mission to become an Internet provider in the sky, smart contact lenses could be the next step for Google Glass, and leaked photos offer clues about an Amazon smartphone.

Eremenko told an audience of around 200 people at the Computer History Museum here that the general public won't have to wait long for their first shot at the Project Ara "gray phone." It's scheduled to go on sale in January 2015 for around $50, Project Ara is the code-name for the smartphone project that would allow people to swap out physical components as easily as you can download a new app, one of the big ideas to come out of the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division at Google, ATAP, which the company peeled off from Motorola when Motorola iphone case x max was sold to Lenovo, is led by Regina Dugan, the former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)..

"It's called the Gray Phone because it's meant to be drab gray to get people to customize it," he said. Project Ara is not intended to be just another smartphone, he said, but as customizable and expressive of the user's personality as apps and software. Project Ara is the first step toward Google's vision of a future where smartphone hardware components can be bought from an app store like Google Play. But Ara is important to other areas of future-forward tech, including its reliance on miniaturized components and 3D printing.

If Ara is successful, it could change how people perceive and interact with smartphones, That's no idle threat, With Android now the most popular mobile operating system, thanks to Samsung, Android-powered Ara would have an in with Google's robust developer and user base, Between now and January, however, Eremenko and the two other full-time Project Ara team members at Google iphone case x max have a lot of work to do, They collaborate with a broad range of partners, from academic experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon, to business partners such as 3D Systems, a 3D printing company that's building a massive 3D printer so components can be easily fabricated..

Ara phones will support Android, which poses an interesting dilemma, since the Android operating system does not yet support the drivers necessary for it to control modular components. "It's true that Android does not support dynamic hardware today," said Eremenko. "The good news is that we're Google," he added, to laughter from the audience. Android drivers will be due in December, one of the last tasks that the Project Ara team will tackle before the public release. Ara's endoskeleton, the chassis that will hold the modular components together, will last for "five to six years," said Eremenko. The components will stay attached to the frame via electro-permanent magnets, and they will use the UniPro standard for communication between modules.

The idea could revolutionize phone sales, Instead of having to buy a new iphone case x max phone to get the latest hardware, you might simply be able to buy a new version of the component you want to replace, The modularity would let you replace parts you don't want with ones that you do, "We want to be as helpful but as hands-off as possible for the ecosystem," he said, In a surprising moment of candor, Eremenko showed the audience several timelines for Ara development, He explained that he was sharing the project timeline so that "you can make as well-reasoned, intelligent decisions about your investment in the Ara system as possible."Another developer's conference will be held in July, with a third in September, Power bus support is due in May, with most system-level functions expected to arrive in September, After-market support, regulatory certification, and carrier certification is expected in November, The alpha build of the 3D printer is due in August, with a beta to follow in January 2015..