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Joe Belfiore announces new updates, sheds some details on lock screen app

Joe Belfiore

In a series of tweets published this morning, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Joe Belfiore has outlined a series of updates that will be going live on the Windows Phone platform.

Belfiore touched on the subject of the number of social networks available for integration on Windows Phone, noting that while only a few social networks could be configured before, the platform now supports sharing to all social networks.

As for the much awaited lock screen app, Belfiore stated that it was undergoing beta testing on devices with over 1 GB RAM, and that work is underway in applying the finishing touches. He said that a dev preview will be announced shortly. On the same subject, Belfiore mentioned that it might be a while before the lock screen app is made available on devices with 512 MB RAM. As for the reason this feature will not be available soon on low-memory devices, he said that it was to "make lock fast/stay in memory."

Belfiore also mentioned that app updates for Facebook and Skype are incoming, and stated that Microsoft is actively partnering with Facebook in trying to eke out any lingering bugs in its app.

Lumia 1520

Belfiore touched upon the subject of new hubs/apps being different in functionality (Xbox Music splitting from the hub, etc), and said that it was because a third party platform was used to build them. He mentioned that this allows for better updatability, and "makes the platform better so all apps improve." He said that such apps are limited in number, and are mostly on dev previews and a small number of new devices.

On the subject of universal apps, Belfiore said that since Windows Phone 8.1 is still in its nascent stages, most developers are focusing on Windows Phone 8, but once WP 8.1 starts gaining momentum, there will be a lot of universal apps available.

Finally, Belfiore said that there are a couple new apps that will be announced for the platform soon and that the Windows Phone team continues to squat bugs before they're ready to roll out Windows Phone 8.1 to the world. Head on over to his Twitter page to read through published messages.

Source: Twitter (Joe Belfiore); thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Reader comments

Joe Belfiore announces new updates, sheds some details on lock screen app

270 Comments

Highly doubt they'll call the next update 8.2!!

Windows Mobile 6 / 6.1 / 6.5
Windows Phone 7 / 7.5 / 7.8
Windows Phone 8 / 8.1 / ??

It will still be 8.1 beause microsoft want to keep it inline with the PC OS....but yes I share yor excitement!

Straight to Windows 9?!!  Balderdash!  I have it from a very good source that the new version is going to be called "Windows VistaME95"!

 

My heart skips a beat when I hear these news....the fact that I've to keep on waiting and expecting....cuz I can't always wait...tired of waiting :)

Yeah.. And they are priced like Moto G... And it's 1000 better with specs.. This is the reason MS is so behind.. Too expensive phones for what you get.. Even with flagships.. Without better app store, it's pointless for 95% of people... But still exited to see what they will offer in 1030 (maybe).. If it's better and high spec. I can use it like camera and back up phone.. If they ever release it.. :-)

To be fair, my dad has a Moto G on T-Mobile which runs on HSPA+, which is pretty fast. Averages around 8 Mbps down.

I've a 920 and a Moto g and I've got to say the Moto more often than not lift performs the lumia :( 4g is only available in lumber two locations in my country so it doesn't factor.

Well actually microsoft didn't make these devices at all as DJCSB always says, "It's Nokia, not microsoft", get it in you head! And Nokia can start producing cell phones again in 2016!!

"Pointless for 95% of people"? You just took dramatic hyperbole to a new level. 95% of people really only use Facebook. They hear this app gap noise from techie nerds and iLovin media and get spooked about Windows Phone, but for most, "the point" of their phone is for calls, texted, photos, Facebook, navigation, music.

Cheap and popular and missing out on all the cool stuff. Shouldn't the users be able to decide on features? I don't care if my phone will be a tad slower with the lock screen app. I know I want it. If people don't want it, they can just as well uninstall it.

Are you kidding? These forums would be filled with people complaining about how the app sucks and how Microsoft putting out crAPPs and "destroying" the platform.

Microsoft is not actually seeing what ppl blindly want. Ppl today blindly eabt 1 gb ram phones even if they don't play games on smartphone. Microsoft should conr to know waht the major masses blindly follow.

I don't see my phone slowing down even with multiple apps in the background.

While I agree that they should set the base to 1GB, 512mb devices running WP8 flawlessly unlike Android that needs at least 3GBs to have a buttery experience.

My Tab Pro 8.4, while great can be a bit sluggish while switching home screens. But the apps work perfectly. Android is on their way but Microsoft just blew Android out of the water performance wise.

I think they will stop producing 512mb devices and stick with 1, 2 or 3GBs. They did what Android can't, make devices running 512MB smooth running.

Right, so windows phones with 1GB+ RAM shouldn't exist?
If you're in a country where 1GB+ devices are available and you chose a 512MB device, then you have no room to complain when apps aren't available to you!!!

You can blindly purchase many WP's with 1GB or RAM if that what you want, if not, there are offerings with 512MB.....it's called options.

It's actually a great business decision to keep making them. My experience with the Lumia 521 was pretty crappy. Apps loaded slowly, performed worse. Text was blurry when not zoomed in, no high end games were available and the ones they were crashed often. Battery life and RAM issues were just terrible. I could go on and on. But using that phone have me a glimpse into what WP8 might potentially be on competent hardware. If it weren't for me trying the 521 for cheap, I might have skipped WP8 altogether and just gone with a Nexus. So yeah, those devices get the short end of the stick, but they sell AND get some customers to double dip. (Didn't mention, this is an 8X btw)

I'm actually meeting people quite frequently that bought a 520, 620 or 720 and are completely happy with it. They were just looking for a cheap smartphone that works nice for the few things they do. Take simple pictures, text, call, look something up quickly on the net or use Here Maps/Drive for navigation.

You're right that heavier stuff is not that fun quite often but there are a lot of people out there who don't need it and the experience is still better than what most Android devices at that price range have to offer (or perhaps: had to offer - I have not had the opportunity to compare with the new cheaper Moto devices and those get pretty fine reviews).

What are talking about?? Apps load at nearly the same speed on my 520 and 920 (the 920 is bit faster though). About high end games not being available this is an issue with every WP with only 512mb ram and you know what if you wanted to play high end games YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT A F**KING HIGH END DEVICE instead of whining in the comments section. Btw Asphalt 8 never crashed on my 520 the only games that did were poorly written ones which were eventually fixed.

920 a bit faster??? If your 920 is just a bit faster than your 520, you've got a pretty slow 920. I got a 520 as a temp phone until my contract was up (cat spilled water on contract phone and it fried), and I can attest that it is way slower than the 920, unless somehow this brand new 520 was just the slowest of the slow 520s. Opening Nokia Camera up on the 520 took anywhere from 5-15 seconds, on my girlfriend's 920, less than 3. Just unlocking the phone was laggy. I could type in my 4 digit pin before any would even show u on the 520. On the 920, it was instant. Texting and writing emails had pauses while typing, switching apps was painfully slow. Browsing the internet, searching, all incredibly slow on the 520. My grilfriend could start playing a game of Wordament while my 520 was still loading. 8.1 did no justice either to the 520 either, some things got a little snappier, while others did not. I finally had enough of waiting for apps to open, stalls, lags, unresponsive UI, that I got a 1020. And boy what a difference. I could never go back to a slow device like the 520 unless I had to. People saying that it is almost as fast as higher end WP8 devices...seriously?

Friend, okay is much difference in speed, but look at the price's abaut those 2 phones: lumia 520 80$ without contract, and lumia 1020 500$, the price is the answere...Over all, I had a HTC 8s, and i was very satisfied with the speed, I put breast my 8s to a versus with galaxy S3(8s 512mb ram S3 1 gb 8s dualcore S3 quadcore) to a browser speed test , and 8s winning all time!!!! Thats amazing:) (3g network both 2 device) Okey its true, when you open a bigger app is loading more than the 1 gb ram device, but is not terrible, and look at the PRICES....

I'm not sure what was wrong with your 521 but I have a 521 as well as my 925 which is my main and a 810 and windows 8.1 runs from sight basically at same speed. Battery is better on the 521 than the 925 due to lower CPU freq id assume. But all have 8.1 and all run amazing. For intense apps like Nokia camera beta maybe an extra second opening but interface wise all are at same speed for most part.

Same experience for me. We have 2 521s and they both work great. I get 2 days battery life (no games) and my wife gets around 14 hours before charging and she's always playing a game or two all day.

I will say though, since jumping on 8.1, the camera experience has gone out the window. I would be perfectly happy with the 8.0 camera app back.

Totally agree w u. I thought windows phone was rubbish but tried a 520 n I was hooked. So upgraded to 925 n now on 1520

I had no real problems with my 521 other than apps needing 1gb ram. I didn't experience any blurry screen and battery would last most of my 12 hour work shift and still be around 30-40% with moderate use. I only upgraded to a 925 for the ram.

while tech guys and girls do mind that they should stop 512mb devices. but the general consumer couldn't care any less.   

Agreed. I've been harping around a lumia 625 - the thing is a champ! Fast, smooth, few visual glitches. This thing is not slow. Sure, it may take an extra second or two to load, over my 1520, but that's low versus high, and it's to microsoft's credit that they are so similar. Though out is irksome some games won't run, the vast majority of phones sold ARE low end. MS are on to something here. Keep improving the experience. There's a great value for money to be heard with these phones!

Actually belfiore demonstrated the lock screen app with the Lumia 630 which has 512mb ram isn't it??? Then what's the problem with the app?

Maybe they added some features that are RAM intensive since the demo, found that 512MB devices didn't perform as well as they'd have liked, and need more time to optimize it better.

Why should they stop making them. My L521 works just fine as does my wife's. Not only does it work fine but it blows my sisters new iPhone out the water. Enough so that she's jumping to WP later this year when her upgrade comes.

BTW: The 512mb phones exist because not all of us can afford the high end phones. Some of us have children that are more important.

What you fail to realize, these 512mb devices out populate the high ends 5 to 1. So why should the number 1 selling devices not be sold?

It's worth noting that the article refers to phones with "over 1GB RAM". It doesn't say "1GB of RAM and over". That leaves some ambiguity as to whether 1GB devices will get it or not. They probably will, I think it's an error on the author's part, but worth saying just in case it really is only for 2GB+ devices like the Lumia 1020 and 1520.

MS seems to find a way to fail always, phones like 720 & 625 are not cheap, MS will never catchup like this. no wonder market share is still way behind

> Microsoft is actively partnering with Facebook in trying to eke out any lingering bugs in its app.

How about eking out the laggy-bloated-as-hell-Skype app first? The worse Skype experience you get is on Windows Phone. Sometime in 2011 Skype blog stated that they are working on golden experience for Windows Phone. Unfortunately, till date the only golden experience we get on mobile from Skype is on iPhone.. Empty promises eh!

I want a new WP device!!!! Also, its good to see Joe being more forthcoming with information. I like it!

What does this mean: To make lock fast/stay in memory

The lock screen App is exactlly that - an App. On 512 MB devices it's pretty hard for the OS to keep multiple Apps in memory at the same time. So e.g. you would unlock your device and start a game that takes up a lot of memory. The OS would have to terminate the lock screen App in order to run the game. So you might then lock your phone and shortly after decide you still want to play. So you turn on the phone and would then have to wait for the lock screen app to restart (as it was closed to make room for the game). To do that however you would also have to close the game. So after unlocking you would then have to wait for the game to resume from it's tombstoned state.

So to make a long story short: a lot has to happen if a device runs out of memory and that would lead to a pretty bad experience on low RAM devices.

Wow.. That's complicated. Thanks for the explanation. Maybe they should make it part of the OS rather than an app.

Point of lock app is to enable 3rd party developers to invent as many as possible, brain storm!!!

well, here's the change log for the XBM app
In version 2.5.3965.0 you will find:
◾Songs list scrolls faster.
◾You can now add more than 100 songs to your playback queue! This means that "shuffle all" will add more variety to your listening experience.
◾App and pinned tiles support custom backgrounds and theme colors.
◾Artist art backgrounds now load more smoothly.
◾Songs already in your collection can now be purchased.

Nice!
Just saw his tweets, I wish he would've said something about the Twitter app ... Anyway, looking forward to the LockScreen App Developer Preview.

Regarding the new apps, any guess? :p

Yeah there was this twitter beta wich had 8.1 integration but till now nothing. I think they will publish it on the official release of WP8.1

Yep Yep, I have the Beta. Hope they update the app for the official release .... And add a Clear Cache button! Its Growing out of control lol

Before this gets buried in a mountain of replies, anyone care to explain what he meant by "apps/hubs are being developed with 3rd party platforms"? Does he mean that Microsoft is outsourcing the development for native apps?

Good question.. Though I would understand it as they're developing with 3rd party tools, not the WP SDK.. Maybe some cross-platform tools? That would certainly explain the bad performance..

Edit: see StevieBallz's comment below :)

The SDK will give you all the "base pieces" to build your apps, but if you want complex UI controls with custom layout and behavior you would have to code them yourself.

Now, there are a lot of 3rd party toolkits that offer this kind of controls ready to build your apps on WP (Syncfrusion, Telerik, etc.) so probably they're using some of these to build these apps, instead of developing their own custom code.

This means that in future they can get benefits from bugfixing/upgrades of the 3rd party framework, and at the same time the experience with official Microsoft apps will enable that 3rd party framework to improve, giving benefit to all other developers that will use future releases of the same toolkit.

See StevieBallz's comment below, that's a better explanation :) Microsoft uses Telerik's controls in some of their apps, for example the Dev Center app but they don't seem to use them in the Music app for example so that's not it.

No, it's a technical description. Until WP8.0 those integrated Apps were written with completely different tools and frameworks than what was available to third party developers. Now many of the Apps have been transitioned to run using the same technologies that third party developers get to use allbeit with some additional permissions.

This has numerous advantages like the ability to update those Apps separately from the OS using the Store infrastructure (like on Windows 8). The drawback is that everything in the third party stack that is not so good will now also affect the system Apps. In the long run it's still preferable as it means that Microsoft has now an added incentive to fix the issues so their own Apps run better which in turn will also improve the situation for third party devs which leads to smoother operation of the whole OS.

This "eating your own dog food" process has been dormant far too long.

Okay that's a better interpretation than mine and makes more sense :) And in this case it's really positive. Though it's still no excuse for the slow Music app.. The Files app loads everything almost instantly, and I suppose they also used the public SDK for that app.

But it wasnt a technical thing the change they made to almost all the hubs.

The music+video hub is no more, the photo hub is no more, the messaging hub is no more, the m hub is no more. That was something else. Why they would kill the hubs is beyond me, this best thing about wp. I was looking forward to get a fully functioning message hub, where sms, fb, whatsapp, viber, skype and all the other messaging services would be. Like the contact/people hub is right now. Where an app could just integrate to it, like the facebook app. And the same with the music and photo hub.

If you want the apps all be in the start screen like ios/android you can just put them there so it's no excuse that wp wants to attract user from ios and android cause im guessing that's why they are doing this.

Hopefully, 6tag and other social apps are getting connected to the contact/people-hub when 8.1 is released.

Thanks, makes sense but still doesn't explain, like some people have observed, how the Files app runs well but Music is crap.

I took it to mean that they are now developed in a way that is similar to how third party apps are, rather than being integrated pieces of the OS.  But I did pause at that and find the wording strange.

Kind a curious about it too! But I also love the current lockscreen. I hope that the new one is somehow better, but not too different.

When WP 8.1 was presented Joe showcased a revisited lock-screen where for example you can have different animation styles for the unlock action, instead of the default "slide up" animation that we all have now. I guess they are talking about this.

Devs can make better and more custom lock screens with this new APIs that are already in the SDK but we lack documentation of how to use it :P and this update is needed to so it runs on the device. Basically instead of the static background picture Microsoft saw that devs using this picture to make widgets, information stuff like weather apps, sport events and so on. Now this can be animated and we get an truly active lock screen.

We will be able to choose themes for our Lock Screen. Like, make the clock appear differently, other information here and there. We don't know all its features yet but we will see.

Man things are starting to heat up now and when they do, I usually pin Joe twitter account to my start screen. Keeps me up to date.

I am using Lumia 525 it is 1 GB RAM device and very cheap one :)

This is the very reason , why 3 months earlier i choosed 1 GB RAM based windows Phone device so that I always get updates on time.

Low Price and 1GB RAM powered Lumia 525 is best of both world ;)

In my opinion IE is one 'app' that should be constantly updated, like Xbox Music (via Store)... but it doesn't seems like it's going to happen. Looks like it's going to take an OS update to update the browser.

8.1 better be worth it. Been with WP since the beginning and its just starting to feel old. Contract expires in December, heres hoping the features of 8.1 and new hardware will feel different enough to my Lumia 920

Why don't you try the dev preview right now to see if you like it? What's stopping you from downloading it and giving it a shot?

Would prefer just to wait for the official update when everythings ironed out. I got into WP so i don't have to do anything like install a beta firmware or the likes.

Just try a dev preview. It's running perfectly on my 920. And it's really a big step ahead compared to WP8.

I totally agree. I couldn't imagine using WP8 anymore. It's a great update that has gotten updates directly to the OS and additionally to applications which have been separated from the OS. It's really a huge leap.

Agreed! The 8.1 dp. Is, for me, night and day, compared to 8.0. Yes, there's possibly am outside regarding warranty and the dp - well a pain in the neck anyway - but it is rather seamless and I don't regret it one bit. Try it!

Loaded the WP8.1 Dev Preview on my 1520 and after a month reverted back to WP8.Way to many bugs and issues.Wifi didn't work most of the time, apps launched randomly by themselves, mms didn't work, lock screen would take four to five seconds to turn on, battery life was horrible,tile animation was choppy.Stick with WP8 until your carrier pushes the 8.1 OTA update with Cyan firmware.

Yeah!Stay away from the Dev Preview.It's not worth the headache.WPC really talks up the Preview and doesn't post anything about the major flaws it has.Some might have good results,but the rest of us have had major issues and it even bricked one of my phone's.

Well. what a lame excuse for getting rid of the hubs. guess the messaging will be fucked up forever now split into 10 different apps. great thinking microsoft.. great thinking.

Facebook messaging wasn't the best before. As long as the apps are available AND they include all the features people are use to, I'm good with it.

I don't understand you guys problems with the hubs in WP8.1!
Photos hub got a lot better, the same with people Hub.
Music and Videos are now FINALLY separated from each other.
It has just gotten better!

Cause for every little backend change Facebook or Twitter made, Microsoft would have to roll out an OS update. It's impossible to get features on time or guarantee the Hub will always be functional. An App is way more efficient and logical, even if it doesn't provide as simple if a user experience.

Sorry What is meant by a lock screen app? What is the use & advantage of it? pls some one help me....

meaning. if a developer develops a clock app it can overide top of the current clock anmd add some cool animations to it while it can also update

Well I know it is a lock screen app, and it will allow us to put stuff on your lock screen, but what exactly makes it different than other apps in Store?

It allows customization beside just lock and displaying of notifications. Adding stuffs like animations while unlocking. Just take a look at Android thousand of lock screens and you will understand. Forget that Dwang up there with zero substance explanation.

Its really nice when information like this is shared with the public. People atleast know what is hanppening and what is in store for us ahead. MS should keep sharing such usefull info, its a very healty practice.

"the platform now supports sharing to all social networks." Hmm.... I wonder how much is "all". Includng the popular ones from China too?

I guess there is a "share to all ..." option in Share list, which share to all apps that accept sharing... Confused? Good.

Dear @Daniel_Rubino, please ask him to bring BBM soon, or some of your followers on twitter will bring on some awesome new hashtags for u to filter... #DanielPleaseBringBBMToWindowsPhone

That depends mainoy upon blackberry too. Publishing such apps on wp isn't easy there are to many restrictions for security even synced with our live ids. So the Microsoft part will be done soon. We want to come to know where has blackberry reached till now

I hope lockscreen app model still allows user to control background pic, like using Bing photos, but only let app to decide unlocking style.

I have 2 Lumia 925 phones

Both had a marvelous WiFi under WP8.0.

That changed into a disaster when I installed WP8.1 preview + updates on both phones.

  • Wifi only works if the phones are within a range of 3 meters from whatever WiFi router. When that distance exceeds 3 meters WiFi disconnects. Reconnecting to the router's WiFi when brought back within the 3 meter range takes more than a minute.
  • All my other devices (laptops, netbooks) still have strong WiFi connections with the router - so the router is not at stake.
  • I tried the WiFi connection with several types/brands of routers - same problem.

There are lots of people with different phone types having WiFi problems with WP8.1 but so far MS and Nokia didn't pay attention to our problem.

My Lumia 925 phones have become useless to me ever since I installed WP8.1.

I have already tried all the reset/reboot/restart possibilities in vain.

No Wifi problems here on my ATIV S. Perhaps you should tell us which Phone you have instead of generalising?

Me too facing problem while connecting to WiFi....
Takes a very long time in connecting....
Sometimes takes hours but still do not connect....
Also signal strength fluctuates a lot, even if we sit still....
WP 8.0 was working well...
These issues are only with WP 8.1...

WiFi barley worked on my 1520 or my Mothers 521 and most of the time would not kick on at all after downloading the Dev Preview 8.1 update,and a hard reset is a given on WP after a major OS update.

I hope Skype finally get file sending with this next update it really needs file sending badly...

Take a look at the build conference one if the first announcements, zuneesque lock screen coming with notifications via app in collab with #6tag Rudy hyuuyn

Haha to all the 512MB owners.

 

Bet yah jumpin up and down about how great your phone is.....

 

People bag the 820 but at least we got a 1GB and thats worth every penny.

They always talk of fb update and when it comes out its a complete disappoint. It still acts as a 3rd party app, or worse.

Do you guys think we'll ever see flipboard? It was announced well over a year ago and still nothing.

On another note, I feel like MS have the update thing backwards. IE is baked into the OS and only gets a single, major update when a new version of the OS ships but they constantly feel that something like music needs updating. If anything music should be native like it was before for the sake of performance but just make an incredible app while IE is updated regularly to keep up with standards.

One thing I hate Microsoft for is continuing to make 512 MB RAM devices. Even Moto E, which is cheaper than Lumia 520 (in India) includes 1 GB RAM. Yet even Lumia 720, which costs 2.5 times the Moto E includes only 512 MB RAM.

There is no excuse for not bringing 1 GB RAM low-end devices (OK, Lumia 525 is available but as the SOLE 1 GB RAM device in whole of Lumia 5xx, 6xx and 7xx series). It's not that 1 GB RAM would be expensive compared to 512 MB RAM, at most it would increase the price of the device by, maybe $10? Most people would be willing to pay that extra $10 for increased functionality.

Yes, the OS works smooth even with 512 MB RAM but 1 GB RAM would allow the low-end devices to run high-quality games smoothly (the processors are already quite good), enable better switching between apps, or allow to have more than 1 tab in memory in IE Mobile, allowing switching between 2-3 tabs easily without the page being reloaded because there was not enough memory to store the page.

Exactly. My Lumia 720 is still expensive than Moto G yet only 512mb RAM.And now they are neglecting the so called lower end devices which make up two-third of their market.

Third Party Toolkit means they developed the XBOX Music and XBox Video apps with software tools other than the Windows Phone Native SDK. This makes it easier to release across all platforms (WP, Android, iOS) because you only have to write the application once instead of a separate app for each platform. But it also can lead to performance issues because these cross platform tools are not the optimized Windows Phone SDK. This explains the performance issues with XBOX Music, but it still doesn't explain their decision to scrap the pivot control layout for the landscape layout or the decision to scrap the collection, store and new music layout of the old music hub. Facebook needs to build their own application. The Windows Phone Facebook app just isn't on par with Android or iOS. It doesn't show posts from services like 4Square, didn't use large images in shared posts, doesn't preview video and the list goes on. Come on facebook, build your own app. Thanks Microsoft for at least giving us something.

The whole point of the social integration originally was that you wouldn't NEED an app.  And that's a huge part of what sold me on Windows Phone.  Now there really is no integration of anything.  It's a joke, perpetrated because of all the iOS and Android fools who insisted upon puking their previous smartphone ideas onto Windows Phone, making it no better than the competition.  It's sickening.

Please make the instagram app faster. It is so buggy and videos load slowly, while on my android phone on same Wi-Fi loads alot faster. I still prefer using Android as my main device and WP as secondary because the apps are not on par. I also am disappointed that why the lock screen app is going to be released late. When most of your phones market is the low end device. Please reconsider your decision or you will only loose potential customers.

They cannot work any faster than they are working now for the lock screen app. And for Instagram, you're barking up the wrong tree

I don't need clarifications from fan boy as you. I have paid my money for this WP and have right to give feedback on it. I don't know why would you even make such absurd posts.

Because Instagram isn't developed by Microsoft so you need to go complain to the developers instead!!!

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