The official Rubik's Cube, the iconic multi-colored puzzle three-dimensional that has challenged generations of would-be solvers and sold hundreds of millions of units since its introduction in 1980 (considered by many to be the world's best selling toy), is being supplanted in the world of competitive speedcubing, the small but passionate community of people who vie to solve the Cube in the least amount of time, by unauthorized Chinese knock-offs engineered to be solved as fast as possible.
Top cubers have been able to push their solve time well into the single digits (here's a solve in 6.24 seconds) using faster Chinese-made cubes. Official Rubik's cubes made by Seven Towns, their London-based manufacturer, just can't handle the speeds of elite competition. The Wall Street Journal has a good story detailing both the questions Seven Towns faces (crack down hard on illegal copies and/or upgrade the engineering of their cubes, perhaps by offering a more costly and precisely tooled competition model?) and the lengths some top players go through to get a cube that meets their high expectations. Click over and give it a read.
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