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With news this week that Nokia has had mild to moderate success on AT&T with the Lumia 900 we should not be surprised to hear that a price drop is coming. After all, the phone has been out now for nearly four months and product cycles dictate that there is always something better down the line.

We’re hearing from an AT&T employee (and we verified with someone higher up in the food chain) that the flagship Windows Phone is set to get a $50 price cut this Sunday and will now be offered for $49.99 on a two-year contract--all colors.  That’s in addition to AT&T stores still offering $50 in free accessories making the Lumia 900 a decent deal for new users looking for a solid smartphone.

This Sunday is also a big day for Nokia and AT&T as the pink Lumia 900 is also going on sale, a carrier exclusive. The combo of a pink Lumia 900 for the ladies along with a $50 price tag should give the phone a modest boost in sales--at least that’s probably what AT&T and Nokia are hoping. It should be interesting to see if sales are brisk or stagnant in a few days from now.

Curiously, the Lumia 900 is still the #3 best-seller for AT&T phones on Amazon Wireless and has remained in the position for quite some time. While Amazon Wireless is not a direct reflection on overall sales, it’s a good sign that at least some people are buying it.

Are any of our readers looking to pick up the pink Lumia 900 this weekend for their woman-folk? Does the $50 price tag make it that much sweeter or do you think it won’t matter with sales? Thanks, Danny, for the tip

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Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, has answered some questions asked by attendees from Microsoft's TechEd 2012. Questions range from developers, globalisation, Symbian and Windows Phone. Possibly the most interesting question, which is also on the minds of Windows Phone (and potential) consumers, is at 5:40.

Elop responds to the question about the inability to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 by stating that the manufacturer is excited about the features that will be included. He does note that all four current devices will receive Windows Phone 7.8, as well as a pattern of future updates from Nokia. These future updates will implement Internet sharing, flip-to-silence, and media content streaming.

"It's also inevitable, that in our fast moving industry, software platform updates are a necessity. They enable a new range of experiences and help offer people a broader range of options. Including size, design, price points."

Elop goes on to reiterate that Nokia are determined to offer long term support for current Lumia Windows Phones. Something that will please many who aren't overly fussed with the upcoming Apollo upgrade.

Source: YouTube

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Walmart is offering the Lumia 710 at a low price of just $269 on a prepaid agreement. Like all prepaid (or PAYG - Pay As You Go) plans, the no-commitment usage of a feature rich smartphone appeals to many and with Windows Phone 8 hardware on the horizon, it may prove to be a good move to take up such an agreement while waiting for what's next from manufacturers and Microsoft.

The Lumia 710 on offer is the white version with a black clip-on case. Walmart has beaten both T-Mobile and Best Buy's pricing by $30, which is certainly something to consider. With the low-end hardware from Nokia and other OEMs, Windows Phones can take advantage of prepaid plans at lower pricing levels.

Interestingly, the Lumia 710 (white and black) are the #3 and #4 top-selling 4G phones on T-Mobile which backs up previous statements from Nokia and T-Mo that the phones are still selling.

Head on over to Walmart's website to check if your local store has stock.

Source: Walmart; thanks, Robert, for the heads up!

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71% of developers are optimistic about Windows Phone 8

A new survey today from RW Baird shows some promising news for the Windows Phone platform.  Despite some recent setbacks and still less-than-stellar adoption rates, devs are keeping their eyes on the prize with Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft’s future.

The poll shows that since the June 20thWindows Phone Summit, 71% of respondents had an increased interest in the platform because of the new Windows Phone 8 capabilities.  That’s quite a high number and we believe a smart move as the promise of overlapping development for Windows 8 Desktop, Surface and Windows Phone 8 will offer some tantalizing opportunities for increased revenue.

Regarding developers long term outlook for Windows Phone 7, devs were less enthusiastic with a noticeable decline from 6.3 (out of 10) back in Q2 2011 to just 4.2 in Q2 2012.  Why the drop? It’s actually hard to decipher as it is far from clear just what devs understand as “the future of Windows Phone 7”. From a technical standpoint, the platform is winding down but Nokia and Microsoft have promised long-term support. Microsoft has also ensured that Windows Phone 7 apps will work on 8—so are devs turning from WP7 and looking to WP8 instead? That seems to be the case.

The worst news though is aimed at RIM and their upcoming Blackberry 10 platform. Developer interest for their next gen OS is precipitously declining with only a 3.8 (out of 10) now hopeful for its long term success. RIM has responded to this report noting that they’ve published 15K apps since January and their dev camps have had robust attendance. All of that may be true but image and perception are everything and people's view of RIM’s future looks negative—that is never a good thing and hard to turnaround. (But see Crackberry for an alternative analysis).

Perhaps it’s not surprising that iOS and Android remain strong with 9.3 and 8.7 scores for developers’ faith in their long term potential with Android taking a very slight dip.  The survey data comes from 200 developers culled from a sample set of 4,300 making the numbers seemingly reliable.

The takeaway from this news would be developers clearly see Windows Phone 8 as the third ecosystem for smartphones while webOS, Symbian and RIM’s future OS are clearly either dead or floundering. That's something to be hopeful about.

Source: RW Baird; via Crackberry, All Things D

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We previously looked at Bing UK rolling out the social update we've witnessed being released elsewhere, but it seems as though we're not going to get the full package - at least not the SERP social sidebar anyway. What the Bing UK search engine has received is a slight upgrade with Facebook and Live connectivity, plus a slight design revamp.

With our previous coverage, we received numerous comments from readers who reside in multiple countries, all confirming no social sidebar. Unfortunately, it seems as though this is a limited feature with only the US sporting the whole shabang thus far. But what we all do have after the upgrade is a cleaner interface, larger homepage images, and clearer result pages. Let's hope more is on the way.

If that wasn't enough to heal the social wounds, the Bing team have worked hard on optimisation and under-the-hood improvements. Question is: do you like the sidebar? Would you like to see it included, or is what we have so far enough?

Source: Bing UK

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The Mango-powered ZTE Tania is currently priced at just 990 kr (£90 / $140) on Swedish consumer electronics retailer CDON. Don't let this entry-level handset (and the price tag) fool you though, as this little beast surprised us at CES 2012 with its overall design and hardware specifications.

The ZTE Tania sports a 5MP camera, 4.3" screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a 1Ghz chip. CDON is blowing other retailers out the water with this attractive pricing. Clove UK currently has the same device listed for £210. Be sure to check out our previous hands-on coverage from CES below.

Head on over to the CDON ZTE Tania product page for more information (select "without subscription" for full price).

Source:, via:; thanks, Peter, for the heads up!

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Nokia Transport will get you to your destination

Nokia has announced today that version 2.1 of their Transport app for Windows Phone is now published and should be available to all Lumia smartphone owners in the next few days. Able to run on all Lumia Windows Phones, the Nokia Transport app is a must-have tool for anyone who requires directional assistance when on the move using public transportation.

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Australian carrier Telstra has approved the Windows Phone Tango update for its arsenal of smartphones. We previously covered Telstra's efforts in testing the upgrade last month, so the carrier is indeed making good progress with getting the update to consumers in a speedy fashion.

The upgrade will be available for Telstra customers with a Nokia Lumia 800, HTC Mozart and HD7 or Samsung Omnia W. The LG c900k (Quantum) is reportedly still undergoing some tests before the update is rolled out. The expected dates are still frozen at mid-July, so we should be able to see some notifications pushed out shortly.

Be sure to keep up-to-date with the status of the rollout over on the Telstra website.

via: Peter's Kitchen; thanks, Peter, for the heads up!

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Nielson has released their second quarter numbers for 2012 and while 54.9% of U.S. mobile subscribers opted for smartphones, 1.3% opted for Windows Phones. This is a jump from Q1 2012 for smartphones (50.4%)and a slight decline for Windows Phones (1.7%).

Android still has the lion share of the market with 51.8% and Apple is a distant second with 34.3%. RIM is holding steady at 9% with Windows Mobile pulling in 3% of the market.

Nielson's 1.7% is somewhat less of a market share than we saw last month from Comscore who has Microsoft holding on to 4% of the market. Then again, Comscore's numbers combine both Windows Phone and Windows Mobile shares in the market.

Regardless, both reports show that Microsoft still has some work ahead of them. The slight decline in the Nielson report could be from consumers holding off on the platform until Windows Phone 8 is released later this year. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change once the new devices hit the store shelves.

Source: Nielson

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Microsoft yesterday announced commercial availability of their Microsoft Translator Hub. The service has been designed to allow developers and business to deliver tailored, real-time translation in up to 39 languages.  The real-time translation is available as an Azure Marketplace application, enabling users to leverage the Microsoft Cloud to deliver more relevant machine translation applications to their customers.

The applications vary for this service but as an example, it will allow for fluid, real time translation of live web chat interactions from customer services representatives. It goes beyond plain machine translation by allowing the output to be fully optimised for that particular application. A private set of data can be uploaded and using the Translator’s machine learning training system, output can then be tailored as required. Manipulating the output could allow exclusion of business specific nomenclature such as names of products or abbreviations. These customised translation scenarios can then be tested deployed so that they suit each application for which they are targeted. Once the solution is deployed, it can accessed through the familiar Microsoft Translator Service API, all the time being kept private or shared, depending on what you require.

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The official 2012 Olympic Games app has landed in the Windows Phone Marketplace. London 2012 was developed by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest Olympic action and Paralympic action.

The app is laid out nicely with the following pages.

  • Live Updates Page that currently displays a countdown timer to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. From there, the page will display updates from the games.
  • Sports Page that breaks down the events by sports. Each sports tile will pull up the specific events, news items for that sport, a photos page and an About page that covers any rules and venue information on that sport.
  • Calendar Page breaks things down by date. Tap on a date and you'll pull up an time listing of events by sport. Tap and hold an event to set a reminder so you won't be late.
  • The Favourites Page lists any sport you've tagged as favorite or reminders you've set.
  • The Menu Page has links to view the games schedules and results, medal tally, athlete profiles, access the My Games section and access the app's settings. The My Games section can be set to a specific Country to pull up news, reminders and favourites for the Country.

You can toggle between the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games through the three-dot menu that runs across the bottom of the main pages. The Paralympic content isn't currently available but is expected to be available in time for those games (August 29th through September 9th).

London 2012 is a very nice application to keep you informed on the Olympic Game results and schedules. While the app does give a good bit of information about the venues of the Olympics it lacks any mapping support. While you can easily switch over to Bing maps or Nokia maps, it would have been nice to have everything under one roof.  

The LOCOG is working on a companion app for London 2012, the London 2012 Join In app, that is a mobile guide to help plan, enjoy and share your gaming experience for the Olympics and Paralympics.  Hopefully the mapping component will be a part of this companion app but it sounds more like a Twitter/Facebook app.  We'll keep a look out for the Join In app and let you know.

London 2012, the official Olympic Games app, is a free offering (ad supported) that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. While this is the official app, there are several other 2012 Olympic apps available on the Marketplace. Look for a round-up of these alternative Olympic apps on Friday with this week's Windows Phone Central Roundup.

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Chrome finish and sleek lines come as standard

O2 UK have announced via their coming soon page that the Nokia's Tango-flavoured Lumia 610 will be arriving this month. Availability is simply set as July so that should be any time now.

The 610 has been built from the ground up to adhere to the new lower specification requirements made possible with Tango. The new lower spec devices have courted some controversy due to a lack of 100% application compatibility. The Lumia 610 represents Nokia’s attempt to bring the price of Windows Phone down sufficiently to allow it to be sold on great value monthly contracts or the ever-popular Pay-As-You-Go. I think its great Nokia are endeavouring to get these phones to as many people as possible. In my opinion, based on some limited time with the device, they have done well to keep the quality up. I would be surprised if it’s not a popular choice for Pay As You Go consumers.

The Lumia 610 being a Tango spec device means it’s not quite as compatible with the full range Marketplace apps as other Windows Phones. Still, it should still give users who are on a budget a far better app compatibility experience than the lower spec Android devices, which compete at the same price. I would expect with Nokia behind the push on this for the remaining apps that do have issues running to get a update to allow operation shortly. After all, getting more Windows Phone users on board and into the eco system is imperative for the future of the platform.

O2 Showing Windows Phone some Love?

Windows Phones - Three Models Available (including the 610)

Its good to see O2 continue their support of the platform. I would however like to see their website list Windows Phone as a category in their hot links. They also still list Windows Phone as simply "Windows" which is not that helpful. O2 currently only stock three Windows Phone handsets, the Lumia 610, 710 and the 800. Last time I checked their O2 Priority moment’s customer incentives app is still unavailable for Windows Phone also.

Still the arrival of the Lumia 610 is positive, think you might grab one?

Source: O2 UK; via The Register

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Microsoft in a surprising move has updated the Windows 8 Marketplace so that there is now another SkyDrive app available. This is not the WinRT version but instead a shortcut to the full-blown desktop app that is currently available to all. SkyDrive is going to be a linchpin of Microsoft’s cloud based continuous client strategy. So what are they up to?

Windows 8 already has the WinRT version of SkyDrive, but currently that does not support folder synchronisation. I have to say I find this rather odd. I would have expected MS to simply update the existing built-in app to support such a function.

I do think there are number of reasons they have chosen this route. Firstly, it could be that a pure WinRT version will make it impossible to execute that level of interaction with the classic desktop environment. It could also be there to help aid install until a fully featured SkyDrive app baked in  with the WinRT environment and the Classic environment.

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Swedish carrier Three (or "3") is offering the Nokia Lumia 800 on a 2-year contract for 299 kr (about $40), but that's not all as the carrier is also bundling the 4G slim version of the Xbox 360 for free. 2GBs of data is included in the plan, and with a free Xbox who can grumble?

We've previously covered similar offers in Sweden with the LG Optimus 7, so it's good to see carriers using Lumia Windows Phones in attempt to push more out the doors. The Lumia 800 itself is a sturdy mid-range Windows Phone that sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 512MB RAM, 16GB storage, 3.7 AMOLED display (with Clear Black technology), and has access to Nokia's collection of OEM exclusive apps.

Source: Three, via:

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Compal Communications is Nokia's primary ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) for the Lumia Windows Phone. June revenues for Compel fell 39.5% due to a reduction in orders from Nokia.  Similar reductions are expected for July.

The move isn't surprising in that Nokia will begin shifting to Windows Phone 8 devices and the company wouldn't want to be stuck with a major inventory of the Windows Phone 7 ones.  This scale back could include any of the Lumia phones from Nokia including the 610, 710, 800 or 900.

What does the scaled back production mean to the average consumer? Most shoppers probably won't even notice it and Nokia is still slated to release the pink Lumia 900 over on AT&T on July 15th (a vote of confidence from the carrier, no doubt). Seeing how some of the color patterns of the Lumia 900 flew off the shelf earlier this year (remember the cyan model), we expect plenty of inventory on the pink version.

The greatest impact will likely be felt by Compal. As primary ODM for Nokia, they will continue to see a decline in revenue while production of the Windows Phone 7 devices continues to scale back. The pendulum will eventually start to swing the other way and Compal should see revenue increases once production of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices kicks into high gear late in 2012.

We suspect adjusting inventory based on demand is normal for companies like Nokia and our bet is Samsung and HTC already did this months ago. It would be perhaps more surprising if Nokia wasn't scaling down production at this point.

Edit: According to Digitimes, Nokia outsourced the Lumia 610, 710 and 800 to Compal but their "high end" line is made in-house e.g. the Lumia 900.

Edit 2: Another interpretation of this story would be that Nokia is scaling back production from Compal and instead doing more if it "in house" instead. For instance, they started production of the Lumia 710 for their Latin American market in late 2011. That is certainly plausible and puts a different, less dire spin on the story. Thanks, winpho, for the tip

Source: Digitimes via: wmpoweruser

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Reports are in that Robert Williams, Windows Phone Executive, has left the software giant and has made the move to Amazon. It seems as though there's an ugly trend starting to appear, but we do hope this is the end of it.

Sounds familiar, right? It was only five months ago when Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, left Microsoft to work on the Amazon Kindle. Of course, we're not forgetting Charlie Kindel, General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem, who left the company late last year.

It seems everyone is migrating elsewhere and we're beginning to wonder if we'll have a Windows Phone team left. So what's Williams' new role at Amazon? He's only the new Director of the App Store. Sounds rather snazzy, eh? Williams was the Senior Director Business Development in the Windows Phone division, and we expect his hard work and experience will be sorely missed at Redmond.

At least he's still presumably using his Windows Phone if the above tweet is anything to go by. We - of course - wish Williams all the best in the future and look forward to welcoming whoever takes his place at Microsoft.

Source: Win Gadget News; thanks, Chris, for the heads up!

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It looks like things are not as good as they should be in the Nokia camp. According to a poll of 38 Reuters analysts the Finnish company are expected to announce next week a second quarter operating loss of 236 million Euros ($289 million USD), almost double its loss in Q1 this year. Shares have fallen to the lowest value since 1996 which is terrible news to hear.

The team here at Windows Phone Central are clearly giving Nokia some love since they adopted Windows Phone as their primary operating system, however it is clear that the public's perception of Nokia may well have fallen by the wayside. We all know that Nokia had the phone market pretty much sown up a few years ago with Symbian and its S series OS outselling all other manufactures. Things have changed greatly since those days; now with iOS and Android dominating the smartphone market. In many countries where Windows Phone is growing it is still heavily out gunned by the opposition. Take here in the UK for example: For the last two years RIM have held the top spot with the BlackBerry being the number one selling smartphone. Nokia now have Windows Phones that are cheaper than a BlackBerry but it seems that getting the youngsters to part with their BlackBerry smartphones is just too much.

I'm not sure what the solution is for Nokia to be honest. I suppose all they can do is keep on bringing us new super hardware combined with the unique applications such as Nokia Music, PureView and Nokia Drive that come standard with the handsets. Maybe time to step up the marketing just a peg or two Nokia?

We should have confirmation of the exact figures next week when the earnings are reported.

[Related: Did Nokia make a mistake by going with Windows Phone?]

Source: CNBC

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Can we expect changes in the Windows Phone 8 Lock screen? 

Back at the Summit a few weeks ago, Microsoft was very clear that they were not showing all of Windows Phone 8, in fact we were only getting a peek. The reason for that is multifaceted but their official position is they don’t want to show consumer features to consumers when we’re still months from release. Then there’s the whole idea of trying to prevent an Osborne effect i.e. hurting current sales by enticing customers to wait for new phones this fall.

One tiny area of interest was an observation today from a reader (erichon99) in the new Start screen video by Microsoft. At about the 2:15 mark (snapshot below) you can see some icons on the Lock screen: 1 Missed Call/Voicemail, 4 text messages and presumably 13 new Hotmail/Live mail messages.

What caught our reader’s attention was the new Hotmail/Live mail icon which ironically is the old Windows flag logo (yet the new logo is clearly used for the capacitive button). To be honest, we think this is just a mockup oversight and we have no idea if Hotmail/Live mail would use the old logo though we’re leaning towards ‘no’ on that one--in other words, nothing to see here. However...

In Microsoft's video there's an apparent oversight in logo-matching 

...this brings back to the beginning—what are those new features in Windows Phone 8? We don’t want to ruin Microsoft’s surprise but we can tell you that looking at the Lock screen for notification changes is a good start.

One area many have complained about in Windows Phone 7 is the lack of a “notification-center”. More accurately if a notification comes in for a 3rd party app and you miss it, well, you missed it. Sure you can use the app's Live Tile but that assumes (a) You've pinned it to your Start screen and (b) You've scrolled down to check it at some point. But can the OS be even more "glance and go"? The answer is 'yes'.

We’re not sure if Microsoft will have an actual notification-center on board (ala Android's "drawer") but we do know they solved this problem another way in Windows Phone 8—by giving developer access to the Lock screen with the added ability to have custom notifications. There are actually four options for developers to choose from with one of them being extremely creative as it will give you a fresh look to your Lock screen numerous times a day. We won’t say much more on the matter for fear of raising Microsoft’s ire but hopefully this tease will get you excited for what’s coming in Windows Phone 8.  

Microsoft is once again not copying the competition, they're doing it their way and in a few weeks, you can judge for yourself.

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We're almost at the point where we're going to start leaving flowers at the grave of the poor Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) Jolie Windows Phone, which has had prototypes circulating throughout the web for a good number of months now. We last looked at the black version of "Jolie" when a hands-on video was published on YouTube.

Back to the white / silver version, and an owner of said Windows Phone has sent in some more photos to Windows Phone Italy. Not only does the slide-out keyboard look inviting, the overall look and design of the device itself is unique, compared to the Windows Phones we had when the platform launched almost two years ago.

It's a shame that such a stunning 2010-esque Windows Phone simply never came to be. But the tractor beams installed on the Android mothership appeared to be too advanced for Microsoft to best (and too expensive to acquire), which led to Sony ditching Windows Phone for the green droid. Check out some more shots after the break.

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Kevin Turner today announced that Microsoft’s first ‘international’ store would be opening in Toronto, Canada. Whilst not exactly too far from the US, this still represents the first time Microsoft have ventured from their home turf to setup shop. The first emporium will open to the public in Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto later this year. The stores should be open in time to showcase Windows Phone 8, Surface & of course Office 15.

Whilst most will see this news as the right step forward, I remain a little cautious that this will lead to a rapid surge to get international Stores around the world. Why do I have my doubts? Microsoft often plays in Canada with some of its strategies. I remember the heady days of the Zune when Microsoft announced this service would go international (to Canada). From then until now, it has taken the company years to get some of its core Zune services to the rest of the world. The Zune didn’t end up going international, Zune services only went that way with the arrival of Windows Phone.

On a less pessimistic note, Microsoft has been riding a wave of positivity around Windows 8 and its Surface tablet (and Surface will only initially be sold in Microsoft stores and online). Whilst our beloved Windows Phone is still small in market share numbers, it continues to receive praise from users and critics alike. Boyed by this surge in good feeling it should be the time Microsoft gets it chequebook out and starts buying up some prime locations around the globe and manning the decks for the coming product launches.

If there was a time to get these stores open its now. This year will see the biggest simultaneous launch of products the company has ever seen. Having wonderful stores in which to show them off properly would be the icing on the cake. I have wanted to see a Microsoft Store here in London for a long time. I'd like to buy a signature PC without the bloatware, see MS products demoed and supported by people that know what they are talking about. 

What do you think? Where do you think Microsoft should put their next stores and why do you think it’s taking them so long?

Source WPC12

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