Posts tagged iPhone

Samsung Mobile’s Earnings Plummet, Thanks To iPhone 6 Plus


Samsung Galaxy Note 4

According to Samsung’s earnings, its mobile business hasn’t just continued to decline; it’s raging through a downward spiral now. The South Korean company’s first quarter mobile profits plunged almost 40% from the same time period last year, according to the AP on Wednesday. But it still has reason to be optimistic. 

From January to March, Samsung’s mobile division earned 4.63 trillion won (or $4.35 billion USD), while a year ago the division pulled in 7.49 trillion won (roughly $7 billion USD), making for a “larger-than-expected drop.” 

See also: Turns Out The Samsung Galaxy S5 Tanked Outside The U.S.

The results prompt analysts to point fingers at the iPhone 6 Plus. Apparently, Apple’s large-screened flagship, known alternately as the company’s first iOS phablet, ate into sales that were once phablet-maker Samsung’s domain. However, the numbers don’t take into account one very important factor: Samsung just put out its best smartphones yet, with its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and results from their global launch this month won’t be available until next quarter. 

In other words, we’ll know in a few months whether Samsung has (finally) turned a corner or not. In the meantime, let’s look for some clues. 

Take Note: The Galaxy S6 Is Selling Big

News of a 39 percent profit loss would typically be cause for alarm, and it’s certainly not making anyone at Samsung jump for joy. However, those numbers also reflect a lull in Samsung’s release schedule. More importantly, shortly after the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge’s reveal at MWC in March, Samsung revealed that it already received about 20 million pre-orders for the two versions of its new flagship phone.


Samsung Galaxy S6

For comparison’s sake, 2014’s Galaxy S5 only managed to sell 12 million units in the first three months of its release. In short, Samsung has a winner on its hands with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Both devices have earned solid reviews around the web, and clearly it’s a hit with mobile consumers as well.

All that means that by the time Samsung’s Q2 profits are revealed, the company should have a much nicer set of numbers to tell investors. And with no new iPhones until at least this fall, Samsung should have a clear path to regaining its mobile supremacy in much of 2015.

Images courtesy of Samsung

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Up Close With PopSlate, The “Second Screen” For Your iPhone 6

The wide open space on the back of a smartphone may be the most overlooked area in mobile technology today. But that’s starting to change, as accessory makers catch on to the primo real estate back there.

Now, PopSlate has joined the fray. Tuesday, the startup gave iPhone 6 users a way to make their pricey Apple handset resemble a YotaPhone, a curious Android device from Russia with a built-in rear display. PopSlate offers the same proposition, except as a Bluetooth-enabled case with a secondary e-ink screen.

“They’re helping to validate the second-screen space,” PopSlate founder and CEO Yashar Behzadi said of YotaPhone. Behzadi doesn’t see the companies in competition; in fact, he said they’re friends. “We have a different take on it that’s a little more ubiquitous,” he said. “Every single aspect of their phone has to be better than an iPhone. [But] we want to extend that, not replace it.”

PopSlate sells for $129. That would be a ridiculous price if it were just a case, but it’s more than that. Think of it like a wearable gadget, but for your phone—one with its own Bluetooth wireless radio, display, battery and approval from Apple’s Made For iPhone certification program.

See also: Mastering Apple’s Gigantic iPhone 6 Plus With Puny Hands

Sounds great, at least on e-paper. I checked out the device, to find out if it’s worth the cost and how well it earns the increasingly valuable space on our phones’ backsides.

Pop And Lock

The back of my own iPhone 6 Plus is already a busy place. It bears a removable iRing attachment and an iQi wireless charging receiver. The latter slips between my clear case and the device, letting me charge the phone on Qi wireless charging pads. I’m running out of room to put new things.

As it turns out, the PopSlate review unit won’t fit my device anyway. For now, it’s strictly an iPhone 6 affair.


I’ve been using a PopSlate (on a loaner phone) for a little more than a week now, and its charms are growing on me. That says something, considering the plastic casing—available in white or black—looks pretty mediocre. It’s also chunky, at a little more than half an inch in total thickness. Of course, the slide-in case does pack a 240 mAh battery and a secondary screen. Users of Otterbox cases are most likely to feel at home here.

PopSlate gets its name from its primary feature: Using its mobile app, users can “pop”—read, send—black and white photos and illustrations from the phone to the back panel via Bluetooth. The unit remembers a small collection of recent pops, so users can just hit the hardware button on the side to rotate between images. The PopSlate display isn’t a touchscreen, so you don’t have to handle it gingerly, either.


From the app, you can take a photo, do some limited basic photo editing, pull pics in from your Instagram account or camera roll, or follow other PopSlate users. 

I particularly like the social features, since other testers and company insiders had some really stunning two-tone “art” and other graphics. Overall, it’s easy to see how the product may appeal to art and design fanatics. They can shoot, share or download pics, making for an easy way to adorn their devices with a changing parade of “pops.” Others can simply show off images of their loved ones or pets.


Don’t expect high resolution, though. The black and white, 4-inch screen can only display 16 shades of gray at 240-by-400 resolution. While that made for a more “artistic” aesthetic in some cases, other times, the images looked noticeably degraded.

That matters less when using the rear slate as a holding tank for things like mobile boarding passes, digital movie tickets, street maps, daily agendas, grocery items, to-do lists or other critical information. Users can transmit anything from the front screen to the back, whether through pics or screenshots, and the screen stays on even when the battery on the phone or PopSlate dies. Speaking of power, the e-ink display stretched out the small battery capacity, giving me about a week of use, as promised. 


In general, I like the basic concept more than I imagined. But I’m not sure it trumps the pedestrian looks of the physical case itself or its limited integrations. At this point, to take on yet another gadget that requires charging (even weekly), I have to love it or find it absolutely essential. 

Neither is true with PopSlate. If it gets a little thinner, amps up its looks and brings down the price, I might find it easier to make that argument.

Software development might help. At the moment, PopSlate only works with a limited number of services. But, according to the CEO, the company has big plans to broaden the popping action.

Screens Ahoy

Although not perfect, PopSlate does look like a clever way to solve problems, from photo app and info overload to limited battery life, using the iPhone’s oft-overlooked backyard. But it’s not the only company playing with the idea of adjunct displays.

YotaPhone, whose second-generation device sells abroad for $530 to more than $800, will bring its YotaPhone 2 to North America this summer. Samsung also followed up its Galaxy Note Edge, which features a secondary side-oriented display, with the S6 Edge, a beautiful smartphone that boasts two ticker displays on the left and right side of the main screen.

But PopSlate is not a phone maker. It’s an accessory maker that got its start on crowdfunding site Indiegogo two years ago based on the idea of breaking the screen out into a separate device—which, it turns out, also lays down the groundwork for its own budding platform. 


Behzadi says the company aims for three major uses. The first, which targets fashion- and social-minded users, aims to let people show off gray-scale artwork. The second focuses on productivity, which is where popping agendas and to-do lists to the e-ink screen comes into play. The last has to do with “contextual information,” said Behzadi, so PopSlate can display the data you need, when you need it.

The company can’t manage the third on its own. It needs developers and partners. In the near term, Behzadi told me that his software will integrate with IFTTT, so users can tie other apps and services to their PopSlates. (Apparently, the IFTTT integration hasn’t been switched on yet, as I didn’t find the channel active when I checked.) The company also has a software development kit in the works that will someday offer developers back-end tools they can use to make their apps work directly with PopSlate.

Eventually, the company will need to create different versions of its products for other devices—an iPhone 6 Plus model, for instance. It will also have to refine its hardware and physical design to earn its spot on the back of our phones. That’s no easy task.

PopSlate essentially has to teach people a new behavior, while proving that its product is worth more than other accessories vying for that space. That’s the same conundrum wearable devices face as they fight to rule our wrists. 


In more ways than one, PopSlate could become the Pebble smartwatch of phone backsides: an upstart that helps define a category. That’s precisely what it needs to become, if it wants to convince consumers and partners that popping is the way of the future. 

Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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SearchCap: Google Mobile URLs, Bing Ads Variants & Bing iPhone App

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Mobile URLs, Bing Ads Variants & Bing iPhone App appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Bing iPhone App Gets A Refresh With New Privacy Controls, Image Search Results & More Emojis

Updates make it possible to launch apps from the search results page, enable a “Privacy Search” mode, view video snippets inline and more.

The post Bing iPhone App Gets A Refresh With New Privacy Controls, Image Search Results & More Emojis appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Bing Ads Launches iOS Mobile App For iPhone And iPad

Advertisers can monitor account performance and make simple edits to their campaigns on the go.

The post Bing Ads Launches iOS Mobile App For iPhone And iPad appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Here’s More Evidence Google May Bring Android Wear To The iPhone

With photos to back it up, the Verge reported Thursday that Google is definitely developing an Android Wear app for use on the iPhone. This is the second time such news has made its way to the Web, having first been reported in March on French tech site 01net.

Before that, an enterprising tinkerer had figured out a way to connect his Moto 360 with his iPhone. There’s even an app on the Play Store right now that claims to connect Android Wear devices with an iPhone (though my own attempts to do so with my iPad have all failed so far). 

Google’s official response to my inquiry on this report has been the standard “We have nothing to announce at this time.” But the photos—showing both a Moto 360 and a G Watch R displaying iOS-specific notifications—make it seem pretty clear that the app is happening.

The real questions, however, are whether Apple would actually have the guts to allow it to show up on its App Store—and what Google has to gain by provoking Apple in the first place.

Apptagonism

As we’ve discussed before, Apple isn’t completely opposed to letting other companies’ wearable companion apps into the App Store. Pebble, Fitbit, and Microsoft all have apps available in the App Store that link non-Apple devices with the iPhone.

That said, Apple is still selective in terms of which devices will get its full support. Neither Fitbit nor the Microsoft Band are compatible with Apple’s Health App; they have to rely on standalone apps, or in the case of Fitbit, third-party workarounds.


<a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shiitakeo.android_wear_for_ios”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Apple has even less incentive to allow any kind of Android Wear capability onto iOS, simply because Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch are such direct competitors. Add Google and Apple’s longstanding mobile rivalry, and it seems even less likely.

At the same time, it’s difficult not to see Google’s potential iOS app as a gibe at Apple’s walled-off ecosystem. Assuming Google isn’t developing the app with Apple’s cooperation—which seems reasonable given their antagonistic relationship—an Android Wear app for iOS would only exist as a testament to Apple’s refusal to play nice.

The Pursuit of Appiness

However, Apple would actually have plenty to gain by opening its software doors to Google. For starters, it could show that Apple isn’t afraid to show off the Apple Watch’s superiority to Android Wear.

If iPhone users truly want to go for a less expensive wearable, they ought to be able to. And if the Apple Watch truly is the superior device, those cheapskates might realize their mistake before too long.

More important, however, Apple opening its doors to Android Wear might also mean the eventual appearance of an Apple Watch app on the Google Play Store. With Android’s worldwide market share exceeding that of the iPhone, allowing those mobile users to connect a shiny new Apple Watch might be a great business move. (If somewhat at odds with Apple’s apparent desire to hook its users specifically into its services.)


<a href=”androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo on the Google Play Store”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Remember, the iPod was once an Apple-exclusive device. It became a true hit once a Windows-compatible version was released. The Apple Watch is the first new product to come from the company in years. Opening up its potential to users on non-Apple platforms would be a smart way for the company to ensure it’s as much of a hit as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it.

Android Wear on iPhone images via shiitakeo on Google Play Store

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There’s More Evidence That Google May Bring Android Wear To The iPhone

With photos to back it up, the Verge reported Thursday that Google is definitely developing an Android Wear app for use on the iPhone. This is the second time such news has made its way to the Web, having first been reported in March on French tech site 01net.

Before that, an enterprising tinkerer had figured out a way to connect his Moto 360 with his iPhone. There’s even an app on the Play Store right now that claims to connect Android Wear devices with an iPhone (though my own attempts to do so with my iPad have all failed so far). 

Google’s official response to my inquiry on this report has been the standard “We have nothing to announce at this time.” But the photos—showing both a Moto 360 and a G Watch R displaying iOS-specific notifications—make it seem pretty clear that the app is happening.

The real questions, however, are whether Apple would actually have the guts to allow it to show up on its App Store—and what Google has to gain by provoking Apple in the first place.

Apptagonism

As we’ve discussed before, Apple isn’t completely opposed to letting other companies’ wearable companion apps into the App Store. Pebble, Fitbit, and Microsoft all have apps available in the App Store that link non-Apple devices with the iPhone.

That said, Apple is still selective in terms of which devices will get its full support. Neither Fitbit nor the Microsoft Band are compatible with Apple’s Health App; they have to rely on standalone apps, or in the case of Fitbit, third-party workarounds.


<a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shiitakeo.android_wear_for_ios”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Apple has even less incentive to allow any kind of Android Wear capability onto iOS, simply because Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch are such direct competitors. Add Google and Apple’s longstanding mobile rivalry, and it seems even less likely.

At the same time, it’s difficult not to see Google’s potential iOS app as a gibe at Apple’s walled-off ecosystem. Assuming Google isn’t developing the app with Apple’s cooperation—which seems reasonable given their antagonistic relationship—an Android Wear app for iOS would only exist as a testament to Apple’s refusal to play nice.

The Pursuit of Appiness

However, Apple would actually have plenty to gain by opening its software doors to Google. For starters, it could show that Apple isn’t afraid to show off the Apple Watch’s superiority to Android Wear.

If iPhone users truly want to go for a less expensive wearable, they ought to be able to. And if the Apple Watch truly is the superior device, those cheapskates might realize their mistake before too long.

More important, however, Apple opening its doors to Android Wear might also mean the eventual appearance of an Apple Watch app on the Google Play Store. With Android’s worldwide market share exceeding that of the iPhone, allowing those mobile users to connect a shiny new Apple Watch might be a great business move. (If somewhat at odds with Apple’s apparent desire to hook its users specifically into its services.)


<a href=”androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo on the Google Play Store”>androd_wear_for_ios by shiitakeo</a> on the Google Play Store

Remember, the iPod was once an Apple-exclusive device. It became a true hit once a Windows-compatible version was released. The Apple Watch is the first new product to come from the company in years. Opening up its potential to users on non-Apple platforms would be a smart way for the company to ensure it’s as much of a hit as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad before it.

Android Wear on iPhone images via shiitakeo on Google Play Store

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Kill Switches Are Killing Off iPhone Thefts


Looks like the theory that smartphone kill switches discourage theft may be graduating to fact.

Three cities—London, New York and San Francisco—all saw fewer iPhones reported stolen since Apple began putting kill switches into its smartphones, Reuters reports. The drop in crime wasn’t just a subtle downward slope either. Think of it more like the fall off a cliff.

Apple launched the iPhone feature a year and a half ago, and since then, New York City authorities noted a 25 percent decline in iPhone thefts. San Francisco weighed in with a 40% decrease, while in London, thefts dropped by half. All thanks to the software that effectively “bricks” phones by disabling them.

Officials in the three cities issued a joint statement announcing the results.

See also: A Thief Snatched My iPhone—And I Learned A Lot About Smartphone Crime

The news must be very gratifying for London Mayor Boris Johnson, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, all of whom argued for laws to make kill switches mandatory.

Few U.S. jurisdictions have kill switch laws outside of Minnesota and California. The latter just passed one of the strongest last year, though it hasn’t yet gone into effect. Apple, as the maker of one of the most stolen smartphones, voluntarily added the switch—dubbed Activation Lock—in August 2013. Last year, the feature remained a fundamental part of the company’s new and very popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phablet.


Samsung and Google have also implemented kill switch features, and Microsoft will add them into its upcoming Windows phones. In general, the mobile industry seems open to the broad idea of kill switches, but would rather make them opt-in, rather than turned on by default. That led smartphone makers, carriers and the mobile trade group CTIA to argue against the California law, which will mandate default activation. 

See also: Smartphone “Kill Switch” Now Mandatory In California

According to William Duckworth, an associate professor of data science and analytics at Creighton University, American consumers spend $580 million per year (PDF link) on replacements for stolen phones. A National Consumers League statistic from 2012 revealed that 1.6 million people in the U.S. had a handheld device stolen from them. 

Lead photo by Jonas

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The Scoop On Microsoft’s New Outlook App For iPhone and Android

Acompli built an Outlook-like mobile app that was so good, Microsoft bought it, renamed it and just released it as the company’s own official Outlook app for iOS and Android

Microsoft has been pushing to extend the reach of its Office productivity software to iPhones and iPads, as well as a preview version for Android tablets. (The latter loses the “preview” label today and becomes a full release.) Meanwhile, the company also gave Windows mobile users Office apps and its own version of the email and calendar software. The lack of Outlook apps for iOS and Android, the world’s most popular mobile platforms, seemed like a huge gaping hole. 

Turns out, Acompli managed to fill that annoying, inefficient void just fine. 

See also: Microsoft Office Comes To iOS For Free

Like Outlook, Acompli combined email, appointments, contacts and an attachment manager into one app, so users don’t have to bounce between separate, incompatible applications. Microsoft acquired Acompli last December, and appears to have wasted no time in slapping a new name on it and pushing it out the door. Here’s what you need to know. 

Building A Better Outlook: Mission Acompli’ed

There’s no question that Outlook on the desktop is a powerhouse email client. On Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms, however, it looked like a power failure. 

Microsoft’s email, calendar and contacts application has been dominant on the desktop literally for decades—which is no surprise, since it comes bundled with versions of Microsoft Office. But before Thursday, Outlook on iPhones and Androids existed mostly as glorified Web apps for Office 365 users or via numerous third-party Outlook alternatives. 

See also: How To Get Started With Microsoft Office On iPad

Most of the choices paled in comparison to full-fledged Outlook, but one managed to do better. Launched less than a year ago, Acompli garnered immediate rave reviews after its April 2014 release. The free app quickly became a hit—so much so that Microsoft itself couldn’t resist scooping it up later that year. 

For the startup, the deal gives it access to “over a billion Office users,” Javier Soltero, co-founder of Acompli and now general manager for Outlook, wrote on the Microsoft Office blog. It also allows for “tighter integration with Office and Outlook, the most popular desktop email app on the planet.” 


The new Outlook is a dead ringer for the old Acompli, an app I’ve been using on the iPhone for several months now. In that time, three features have stood out for me: I can choose Chrome as the default Web browser for email or document links, instead of Safari.

The “focused inbox” for priority messages may not be perfect at picking out important emails, but it’s helpful enough to be handy. The app also offers a handy attachment viewer that integrates with cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and, of course, Microsoft’s OneDrive service. 


All of these features remain in the new app, at least for now. 

“For our Acompli users, Outlook will be a familiar experience, as we’re developing the apps from this code base,” the Official Microsoft Blog states. “You will see us continue to rapidly update the Outlook app, delivering on the familiar Outlook experience our customers know and love.”

In other words, Microsoft wants the former Acompli app to resemble the Outlook experience, and it’s in a hurry to get it there. How much of a hurry became plain when Julia White, Microsoft’s general manager of Office, told the Verge, “We have been and we’ll continue to update the app weekly.” 

Those updates will likely lead to heavier emphasis on the company’s own offerings. Hopefully that won’t come at the expense of integration with Google Drive or other external cloud storage services. 


Super Email Busting Powers

When it comes to email on Acompli—er, Outlook—support for Gmail, Yahoo and iCloud, as well as Microsoft’s own Outlook.com and Exchange, won’t go anywhere. In fact, it would benefit Microsoft to link up with as many major email providers as possible, to keep users relying on the app. 

Outlook also offers one of the most popular email features these days: Like with Google’s Inbox, Dropbox’s Mailbox and the now-defunct Acompli, users can swipe to schedule, archive or delete. 

The finger-flinging really adds a jetpack to zipping through unwieldy piles of messages, which should appeal to the businesses and workers that form Microsoft’s key user base. 


Serving businesses has always been a primary focus for Microsoft, which has seen competition heat up in this area—most recently by Amazon, which just introduced its own WorkMail service. White said, “we’ll be rounding out the really important business and organizational capability of the app too,” though she didn’t elaborate on what exactly that means yet. But with weekly updates, we may not have long to find out.

For now, Outlook for iOS and a preview for Android are both available for download. Early user reviews seem solid for the iPhone version, and generally positive on Android, though apparently some people report various bugs. That’s understandable, given that the preview app is essentially an early beta-type release. 

The user interface supports 30 languages, and the apps require iOS 8.0 and higher, or Android 4.0 and above. To check them out, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play, or play the promo video embedded below. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite; all others courtesy of Microsoft

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The iPhone May Be Booming, But The iPad Is Still Cratering


Lurking behind Apple’s dazzling October-December iPhone sales  (74.5 million units, up 46% against a year earlier) and financial results (a 30% jump in revenue to $75.6 billion, a 38% jump in net income to $18 billion) was some almost unremarked bad news. Namely, that the iPad is still tanking.

Apple sold just over 21 million iPads during the holiday quarter, a drop of 5 million units compared to the same quarter a year earlier. The once iconic tablet also posted its first full calendar year of decline; Apple sold just 63 million iPads in 2014, the lowest number since the tablet’s launch in 2011 and a 14.6% fall compared to 2013.

See also: How The iPad Stalled And Android Took Over The Tablet Market

Overall tablet sales have slowed dramatically over the past year, but the iPad is faring much worse than the overall market. In November, the research firm IDC predicted that 2014 tablet shipments would rise by 7.2% compared to 2013, but that iPad shipments would fall by 12.7%.

We now know that the iPad did even worse than that, although IDC hasn’t released final 2014 figures yet. For comparison, IDC predicted 16% growth in Android tablet shipments and a 67% rise (from a low base) for Windows tablets.

The Apple Rebuttal

As always, Apple CEO Tim Cook remained upbeat about the iPad despite the poor sales numbers, insisting that he felt it was a product that should be looked at “over the long arc of time” rather than in quarterly segments.

“I see that the first time buyer rates are very high,” he said during the company’s earnings call with analysts. “If you look in developed markets like the U.S., Japan, (and) the U.K., you’d find that 50 percent of people are buying iPad for the first time. In China, it’s over 70 percent. When you have that kind of first time buyer rate, you don’t have a saturated market.”

Cook also theorized that the lifespan of the iPad was playing a part in the decline in sales. “The upgrade cycle is longer, somewhere between an iPhone and a PC,” he said. “There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with Mac on one side and iPhone on the other. It’s very hard to tell in the early going.”

According to Apple, the record-setting financial numbers were due to all-time highs in iPhone, Mac, and App Store sales. Sales numbers were up in China, where Apple established two more retail stores in the last quarter. On the conference call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said Apple planned to have 40 stores open in Greater China by 2016.

China figures to be a key battleground for Apple in the near future, representing a huge market for customers and the base of its largest competitor in the country, Xiaomi

Photo by TonyV3112 for Shutterstock

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