Wood and leather are so yesterday. What you really want is some genuine marble on your precious gadgets. At least that's the pitch from Native Union, which recently announced its Clic Marble iPhone 6 case, available in matte black or glossy white -- the latter consisting of the nice Carrara white marble from Italy. Don't be fooled by its simple look, as the company took a year and a half to figure out how to carefully slice marble at just 0.8mm thick, and then reinforce it with fiberglass to keep it flexible and shatter-resistant. The case does add 2mm of bulk onto your device, and it does ask for $80 in the US or £70 in the UK, but these are the kinds of sacrifices that some are willing to make in return for that cold luxurious feel.

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Tesla Model S in the sunset

Tesla frequently comes across as a fiercely independent automaker, but that wasn't always the case... at least, if you ask Bloomberg. Its sources claim that Elon Musk almost secured a deal for Google to buy Tesla in early 2013, when vehicle sales were tanking so badly that Tesla closed its factory. Reportedly, the deal would have kept Musk in charge of his company for eight years, or until Tesla's mainstream electric car (the Model 3) was on the road. It fell apart simply because Tesla became successful -- a last-ditch effort to close Model S sales paid off during the negotiation period, eliminating that need for a lifeline.

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There's a new kid on the smartwatch block, which means that Google needs to make sure that its own gear is ready for the challenge. That's why the company is pushing out new features to its Android Wear devices in the coming weeks. The biggest addition is probably WiFi support that'll let you connect to your smartphone even if it isn't in your pocket. Should you, for instance, head out to the coffee shop and leave your phone at home, then you'll still receive notifications as long as both are connected to the internet.

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BB8

The first proper trailer may have stolen the show at Star Wars Celebration, but the revelation that spherical droid BB-8 was a physical prop came a very close second. Like a lot of people, when industrial designer Christian Poulsen saw the adorable sentient ball roll onto stage, he decided he had to build one of his own. Unlike plenty of others, however, the BYU student was able to design and build a working copy the following day. Turns out that you can too, as long as you've got a Sphero and a CNC machine lying around the place.

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Now that it's been on the market a full year, you can finally buy a OnePlus One without an invitation. Sound familiar? The company has opened up sales on the well-liked, $300 smartphone for brief periods before, but today said that "the One will be available without an invite. Forever." Calling the reviled invitation system a "fascinating, evolving experiment," the company admitted that "feelings toward (it) vary, and we understand that." In the same breath, however, it revealed that its next model, the OnePlus Two "will initially launch with invites."

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When Nokia sold its devices and services business to Microsoft, we assumed it was getting out of the hardware game for good. Not so. The company has since launched its N1 tablet in China and now, according to Recode, it's developing a new phone too. Exactly what it'll look like and, perhaps more importantly, the software it'll run is unclear at the moment though. The company has made some strides with its alternative Z Launcher, but its debut Android slate is fairly unremarkable. That's because it was actually designed by Foxconn -- not the old Nokia team that's given us so many bold and beautiful Lumias over the years. If the Finnish company sticks with Android, it's going to need something a little more original to stand out from the competition. (The Nokia brand will only go so far, after all.)

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Microsoft Cortana

Microsoft is already poised to bring Windows' Cortana voice assistant to other platforms, but the duo behind the OrangeSec team isn't willing to wait that long. They've developed and shown off Portaña, a simple Android adaptation of Cortana that uses a proxy to talk to Microsoft's servers. While it's nowhere near a complete recreation of the official software (you have to speak in Italian, for one thing), it does work -- you can ask a question and expect an answer back. Portaña is sadly likely to remain in a rough state as is, though, so you'll want to tinker the source code if you just have to speak to the Halo-inspired helper before there's an official solution.

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If you're looking at a BMW's deluxe 7 Series, the 2016 model will awe your yacht club pals with some Bond-worthy gadgets. The remote control parking appears to be a first for a production vehicle, even though we've seen it demo'd by Volvo, Audi and BMW before. When you use the touchscreen-equipped BMW Display Key, it'll squeeze itself into (and out of) a parking space in a fully automatic process. Self-parking is already available on BMW's i3 electric vehicle and many others, but the 7 Series is the first to let you park when you're not even in the driver's seat.

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An illustration of dark matter in the Abell 3827 galaxy cluster

Scientists typically believe that dark matter, for all of its mystery, behaves in a simple way: if one clump encounters another, the two interact solely through gravity. However, researchers using both Hubble and the Very Large Telescope have published findings which suggest that there's more involved. They've noticed dark matter (the blue lines in this picture) lagging behind a galaxy due to friction, hinting that there are factors beyond gravity at work. It's not certain whether the source of this friction is a familiar phenomenon or something entirely undiscovered, but it's definitely not the usual culprit.

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United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket

You may not be familiar with United Launch Alliance, but it's about to handle a large chunk of US space launches -- and that makes the rocket you see above particularly important. That's Vulcan, ULA's newly unveiled launch system for satellites and similar payloads. The two-stage vehicle is designed to be the "most cost-efficient" rocket of its kind, helped in no small part by new recovery tech (Sensible Modular Autonomous Return Technology, or SMART) that captures the booster main engines in mid-air. Vulcan also eliminates an earlier dependence on Russian powerplants by relying on low-cost, reusable liquid natural gas engines from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. You probably won't be happy with this machine if you're rooting for SpaceX, but it'll be a big deal if its affordable design gets more equipment into orbit and beyond.

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