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Nokia testing labs: Breaking phones to fix them

Part of making a good piece of equipment is anticipating how it'll break. This fascinating tour of Nokia's testing labs offer a rarely glimpsed inside look at how phones are battered around to make them stronger.

Nokia R&D tour
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

SAN DIEGO--Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of CTIA was spent in the company of fellow journalists touring Nokia's testing facilities here, otherwise known as the chambers of torture.

It's here that testing engineers inflict a variety of mechanical and chemical abuse on their electronic quarry. Make no mistake: destruction is the labs' principal goal. As the phones get smashed, steamed, thrown, tumbled, pulled, and plunged, their human overseers scrutinize the points of failure--it could be tiny air bubbles trapped in a component, or a folded sheet of metal that's been worn to the nubbin from seemingly ceaseless repetition.

Get the full story and pictures in this slideshow; I assure you, it's pretty fascinating fare.