Posts Tagged Tablet

Acer Iconia B1 tablet launches at $150

After quite a few weeks of half-hearted leaks, Acer has announced its latest budget Android tablet. Called the Acer Iconia B1-A71, the tablet chiefly impresses through its price, which is expected to be under $150.

In other regards, the tablet is unfortunately mediocre. The Iconia B1 is trading on specs that could perhaps maybe prove a good lower-cost alternative to the Nexus 7, but ultimately don’t seem worthwhile for the small price reduction.

You get a 1.2 GHz Mediatek dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and a 1024 x 600 7″ touchscreen – about the same specification as the BlackBerry Playbook, then. The Iconia B1 leaked last year with some rather dreadful GLBenchmark results – a mighty 3.3 FPS in the Egypt HD test, and only 18 FPS on the much older Egypt Classic test using the tablet’s native resolution.

At least it runs Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, so you’ll at least have the benefit of being able to use some portion of the 700,000 Android apps available. Although few of these are tablet optimised, and I’m guessing most games won’t run too well on such a slow processor.

Still, the Acer Iconia B1 is still quite cheap. And that’ll make it ideal fodder for less-informed tablet buyers, who are out to get the kids something good for Christmas but don’t want to spend as much money as they would in the case for the iPad 4 or even the Nexus 7.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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An Xbox Surface Tablet for 2013?

Microsoft is barely escaping the headlines for a day as of late, which is of course to be expected with the likes of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the company’s first tablet PC hitting the shelves. However, it is of course the third of these three that hold the most appeal for the hardcore gamer with an affinity for all-things Microsoft, as the Surface Tablet is expected to take Microsoft gaming in a whole new direction to say the least.

Having so far only received a lukewarm reception at best, the Microsoft RT Tablet has proved itself as something of a middleweight competitor, which although delivers the goods in some way still falls short in others. Its bigger brother in the form of the full-fat Windows 8 Surface Pro Tablet is expected to land in the next month or so, which has the potential to bring full-on Windows PC gaming to the tablet PC gamer like never before.

However, rumour has it that Microsoft’s ambition for the Surface Tablet range does not in fact come to an end with the elusive Surface Pro. Far from it in fact as over the course of recent weeks, stirring and whispers have grown into shouts about the prospect of a dedicated Xbox Surface Tablet arriving in the very near future.

The concept in its own right is far from a ludicrous one to say the least. According to those behind the stirrings, the Xbox Surface Tablet will make an appearing in the first half of next year and essentially bridge the gap between tablet and console gaming. The tablet itself is likely to be something of a lower-end model than the Surface Pro and perhaps even below the spec of the Surface RT Tablet, given the way in which it will in any case become one of the most expensive console accessories ever offered.

On the other hand, it may come to pass that the Xbox Surface Tablet arrives as a slightly modified version of the current Surface RT tablet, sporting tweaked and honed software as opposed to a full and frank redesign.

If any of the above proves to be accurate, Microsoft may be looking to take a leaf from the book of Nintendo following the so-far successful launch of the Wii U. Since its first appearance several months ago, the Wii U has been attracting both praise and curiosity for its tablet pc-style controllers which can enhance gameplay considerably.

If Microsoft goes one step further to offer an Xbox Surface Tablet which functions as an advanced gaming controller AND a tablet PC AND a mobile gaming device in its own right, the reception could be huge.

There is of course a big question mark hanging over the head of the idea as a whole, though it is entirely possible that the Xbox Surface Tablet may be being lined up to launch alongside the fabled Xbox 720 – also rumoured to be landing sometime during 2013. Now is clearly the time to make the most of the mobile gaming revolution and all signs are pointing to Microsoft doing exactly that.

Now may also be the time for me to prepare to sell my Xbox 360 and get ready for the next big thing.

 

This post was brought to you by Lisa Morton, who loves blogging about all things electronic and occasionally writes the odd food review.

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Microsoft Surface Tablet Launches

Microsoft launched both Windows 8 and its own Surface tablet in the U.S. early Friday morning with the opening of the Microsoft Store in New York City’s Times Square.

“It’s definitely worth every penny I spent on it,” said Acosta, shortly after his purchase (the Surface starts at $499).

Acosta may have waited for hours and paid hundreds of dollars for his new Windows tablet. Some top Microsoft executives were on hand to autograph the boxes of the first Surface units sold, including Panos Panay, the general manager of Surface.

“We filled up Times Square pretty good,” Panay said. “The excitement is riveting — we’re very humbled by it.”

Microsoft also supplied the people in line with refreshments, and some lucky ones (including Acosta) even got Surface jackets.

Share your thoughts about Suraface Tablet in the comments…

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Point of Sale Software: How It’s Improved Over the Years

A POS system has come a long way from the trusty cash drawer that was opened with a lock and key. Today, new POS software technologies run rampant as more tools are introduced to support different business models.

The following are some of the most prominent advancements that have made POS software a huge help for businesses:

Tablet-Compatible Cash Drawers

Customers and employees want mobile POS systems technologies. In fact, 50% of customers surveyed in a recent Honeywell survey agreed that using a mobile POS station will save time; 43% believed that paperless receipts sent via e-mail were beneficial to both customers and businesses.

That’s why business owners should start thinking about POS system software such as iRegister. It’s a new POS tablet that can save small business owners a lot of money because they won’t need to purchase a complete POS system.

The register costs $999 and can be used stationary when docked at a cash drawer in conjunction with a keyboard and thermal receipt printer, similar to a traditional POS station. For added convenience, employees can remove the tablet from the docking station for mobile transactions, to reduce long lines, or print customer receipts away from the register.

Multi-Location Management

New point of sale software allows business owners with several retail locations to manage reports in real-time using one complete system. All customer transactions in multiple retail stores can be accessed with multi-level security encoding to control records, sales, and inventory without having to step foot in the actual store.

This type of on-site and off-site management will allow a business owner to track customer sales to improve day-to-day efficiency and productivity – regardless of the size of business.

POS E-Commerce Storefront

For retail stores that also sell products online, POS software now provides e-commerce solutions for all business types and sizes.

E-commerce POS software can be customized to meet a business’s unique needs, allowing brick-and-mortar retail stores to expand their reach to a larger customer demographic by selling products online. This type of streamlined POS software will enable a retail store to expedite customer orders placed online, while continuing to track inventory and sales for both in-store and Internet purchases.

Clearly, standard POS systems are raising the bar by introducing new, functional technologies that benefit a wide variety of business models. Whether you own a retail store, a restaurant, or a fast food chain, using an updated POS system will make it easier to expedite customer transactions to improve sales and step up your level of customer service.

Sylvia Rosen is an online writer who enjoys writing about the latest business technology trends.

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Google goes back to the drawing board for Nexus Q

SAN FRANCISCO: In June, Google engineers took the stage in front of thousands of cheering software developers to introduce the Nexus Q, a black ball meant to stream video and music. It was Google’s first try at building its own hardware – in the United States, no less – and Google called it “a third wave of consumer electronics.”

But last week, just five weeks after the introductory pomp at the annual developers’ conference, Google indefinitely postponed shipment of the device.

Although Google was hardly betting the company on the Q, the failure reveals deeper challenges for the Internet search giant as it tries to move into two new areas: hardware and social technology.

The hardware for the Q, which Google built in a factory in San Jose, Calif., has for the most part been well-received, but early users say the device simply does not do enough. And for what it does, at $299, it is too expensive.

The company’s only statement on the delay came in a letter to customers who had ordered it. The letter acknowledged the criticism of early users and said, “we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.” Customers who ordered the device already will receive it at no charge.

Google’s push to build the Q is part of the epic battle between Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.com for control of the living room – the TV shows and movies we watch, the music we listen to and the advertisements we see while sitting on the sofa.

“The battle for the TV is raging,” said James L. McQuivey, an analyst on media and technology at Forrester. “If you’re Google and you know the future of advertising is going to encompass all the screens – the ones you’re strong on, the PC and mobile phone, but also TV – then you’ve got to nail that piece or you run the risk of hitting a ceiling with your revenue potential.”

Advertisers are expected to spend $64.8 billion on TV this year, compared with $39.5 billion online, according to eMarketer, an advertising research firm. People are spending less time reading print publications or listening to the radio in favor of digital devices, eMarketer said, and they are spending more time watching old-fashioned TV.

The delay of the Q is not Google’s first misstep as it tries to become a consumer electronics company and make its products jump off computers and phones and into living rooms. Google’s Internet-connected TV, Google TV, has struggled to sign on programming partners and rumbled with hardware makers, and has not caught on widely with TV viewers. Like the Q, it was delayed in its early days to improve the software, although Consumer Reports called LG’s latest Google TV the best version of the product yet.

The Q plugs into TVs or speakers so its owners can listen to music or play video from their Android phones or tablets. It is similar to devices like Apple TV, Boxee, Roku and Google TV.

But the Q is much more expensive than those products and does much less. It plays music, movies and TV shows only from Google Play’s limited collection and YouTube, and can be controlled only by Android devices. It is unclear how it would work with Google TV.

The Nexus 7, however, a $199 tablet computer that Google introduced on the same day, has been met with rave reviews and is selling quickly, and can be used as a remote control for TVs.

Tech companies want people to buy their devices so they will also buy their media, and vice versa. Amazon.com sells Kindles so people will buy e-books from Amazon, and Apple sells music on iTunes so people will buy iPods. Companies

are racing with one another, because once people store enough media with one service, it is much harder to convince them to switch services or devices.

Although analysts say the race is far from the finish line, a problem for Google is that most people have not purchased much in the way of music and movies from Google.

“They only extended it to people who had music inside Google Music and media purchased off Google Play which, let’s admit, was a much smaller market than Apple iTunes, Amazon and any other media outlet,” said Chris Silva, a mobile analyst at the Altimeter Group. “They want to get people using Android and using Google Play for media and they know it’s an uphill battle, which is why they’re pushing it so hard.”

Google also hoped that the Q would be the centerpiece of its fledgling efforts to connect home devices to the Internet. It has said it wants to tackle not just the living room but the whole home, eventually connecting coffee pots to the Internet so they can be turned off remotely, for instance, or refrigerators so they can order milk when it is running low.

“They are trying to locate more things in your home, so Google software is continually chugging away in your home environment,” McQuivey said. “But the Q is not enough of anything to be the center of anything.”

The saga of the Nexus Q sheds light on another of Google’s weaknesses – understanding the way that people in the real world want to use technology to socialize.

Google was notoriously late to social networking, although it says its Google Plus social network has been a success, attracting 250 million members since it was introduced last year. The Q is also social, Google said, because people can select or change songs or videos from their own Android phones while listening to music with friends.

“Mobile devices have made music more of a personal and sometimes isolating experience,” Joe Britt, an engineering director at Google, said when he introduced the Q.

But even though people spend a lot of time listening to music on their personal headphones, they always have and continue to listen to music together, since the advent of the phonograph and gramophone, and it is not clear that people have a burning desire to change songs when listening to music with friends.

“The problem is it looks like it was designed by Google engineers for use by Google engineers,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst who studies the connected consumer at Gartner. “It’s another one of those solutions in search of a problem. Do I want to change a song with my device at my friend’s? And if my friend wants to switch the song, here’s the remote control.”

The fate of the Nexus Q is also a lesson for Google, Gartenberg suggested, as the company gears up for a major strategic shift with its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The deal with the cellphone maker was completed in May. Google is now not just a software company but in the hardware business, too, selling Google-branded devices like the Nexus 7.

Google’s long-held strategy of introducing new products early in their development and revising them on the fly might work for software, like a new tool in search or Google Plus, but it is more difficult to do in consumer electronics, especially once people pay for an expensive device, although Google is focusing on changing the software, not the hardware, in the Q.

“When you’re iterating like Google does with software, particularly when there’s no charge to use the software, you can do that,” Gartenberg said. “But when it comes to consumer electronics, you can’t take that same approach. It’s a product that clearly needed more thought if it was going to sell to consumers.”

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What’s Next after 4G Tech? Advance Review

Yes after early debut of 4G technology, we are now again facing another surprise from the developers of this technology. They call it 5G technologies which promise a faster mobile internet for the consumers.

If you can figure out internet options in your area, especially if it is 4G, don’t just be contented with the faster mobile internet that you can receive. Be mindful that as the sales of smartphone and tablet users increase, it would have a direct impact to the congestion of the wireless networks provided by the network companies.

Give it five years from now and you would feel the deterioration of your internet speed. This is the prediction of the network developers. That is why while you are enjoying the current comfort 4G is offering, they are busy in researching and developing a much faster mobile internet connection.

So what would you expect from 5G technology? Here are the facts that would excite you for the future.

Faster mobile internet connection

 

It would be an understatement to say that 5G offers faster mobile internet connection from 4G technology. However, according to the standard of the International Telecommunications Union, 5G technology would have a speed of one gigabyte per second. It’s a literal speed that can download an HD movie in less than a minute. Imagine the data that speed can offer you? Another shocking part is it can actually shared by the entire household. For example, if you are comfortable with slower mobile internet speed, then you can actually share the remaining bandwidth to your family members. And that’s what we call intelligent network.

Intelligent network

 

The developers of this technology do not only focus on the speed. They also put emphasis on the reliability and usefulness of this technology which is not seen in the 4G. With intelligent capability to distinguish priority connections, consumers can now put machines into their internet. For example, you could actually set your thermostat in plus 20 degrees hotter even if you are still driving two miles away from your home. When you are in an emergency, this technology allows you to prioritize emergency calls using VoIP than your social media sites. They predicted that this technology in internet connectivity will be more inclined in the introduction of IP based machines, instruments and appliances. Would this be true, we don’t really know. What is cleat though is that it can make human lives more convenient.

Affordable

 

5G technology has been predicted to be much cheaper compared to its ancestors. This is because data caps will be avoided and companies will now charge its consumers in a much affordable price. Indirectly, people can save from the costly internet bill because of the 5G’s capacity to share. From the point of view of consumers, this technology is the best way to do things like watching TV, using the telephone and watching expensive movies in the cinemas in a single billed internet service. Now, you can save more from those expensive cable and telephone bills.

Review by: Jashon Wills

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Apple and Samsung take Australian legal patent battle to the ‘hot tub’

SYDNEY: Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd are embroiled in a high-stakes patent battle in several countries around the world, but only in Australia are they also engaged in “hot tubbing.”

Rather than a gaggle of lawyers hammering out their differences in the jacuzzi, the term refers to expert witnesses giving evidence in court together – rather than one by one – in the witness box.

Officially known by the more staid legal term of “concurrent evidence”, the practice has become increasingly common in Australia in complex, technical trials such as the Apple-Samsung patent dispute.

Proponents argue that it saves time and resources and, importantly, restrains experts hired by litigants from overstating their case as they can immediately be questioned not only by the judge and lawyers, but by their peers.

“I think in a case like this it’s quite a good approach,” said Mark Summerfield, a patent lawyer and senior associate at Melbourne-based law firm Watermark.

Australia is one several countries where Apple and Samsung are in battle over patents. Apple has accused Samsung of copying the design and function of some of its tablet and smartphone devices, while Samsung has counter-sued Apple for allegedly breaching patents related to wireless transmission technology. A U.S. Federal Court began its own high profile case last week.

The hot tub approach temporarily switches Australia’s adversarial court system into more of an inquisitorial system that is widely followed in Europe and Asia.

“The basic theory is that if an expert is in a position like that … they will be more upfront about what they really think and they’ll be more willing to discuss the nuances of points,” said Summerfield. “It also tempers the tendency of barristers to be aggressive in questioning.”

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Thin, wearable, foldable- meet the new age tablet

SAN FRANCISCO: Tablets with paper-thin screens that can be folded and tucked into your back pocket, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — the stuff of science fiction may be coming to a store near you. It’s been two years since Apple Inc launched the iPad and spawned rival tablets from the likes of Samsung Electronics Co, Amazon.com Inc, Sony Corp , and now Google Inc and Microsoft Corp . Much of the competition so far has centered on making smartphone and tablets lighter, slimmer, faster and longer-running than their predecessors, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. The increasingly crowded marketplace is also galvanizing hardware designers and software engineers to explore new technologies that may revolutionize the look and feel of mobile devices in coming years. “We should think beyond just the touch-screen device,” said Lin Zhong, a professor at Rice University who does research on mobile systems. “Why do we have to hold tablets, carry many displays? We should think about wearable computers.” Some researchers are experimenting with wearable devices, such as Google Glass, a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on eyeglass frames to record video, access email and surf the Web. Others, like Microsoft, are investigating the use of 3-D cameras to create images that pop up when a person calls. Samsung has a concept video that shows a bendable, transparent 3-D smartphone-hybrid tablet that can also be used as a real-time interpreter. Few of these new technologies will hit store shelves any time soon – companies and researchers are more actively working on touchscreen innovations in the near term. In particular, organic-light-emitting diodes, or OLED, is widely touted as the successor to liquid crystal displays. OLED displays, such as in Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphone, are lighter, thinner and tougher than current displays. The main attraction of OLED at first are their ruggedness, but the technology could one day allow tablets to be folded or rolled up like a newspaper. Reaching that point poses challenges like making the delicate chips and components inside them more flexible and resistant to damage. “Flexible and foldable displays will first be implemented on smaller sizes like smartphones,” said Rhoda Alexander, IHS iSuppli’s tablet analyst. “Tablets may follow in a later progression, once manufacturing costs and yields have been tested.” An unfolding NewSSlate concept developed by Innovation+Bermer Labs shows a foldable tablet that one can use to read news and watch videos. These are not expected to be ready for prime time for another few years. NEXT UP: WRAPAROUND GLASS Apart from experimenting with various materials in their own labs, manufacturers are partnering with premier academic institutions in their quest for the most interactive screens. Samsung is working with Stanford University’s chemical engineering department, and Microsoft is working with Rice University. Professor Zhenan Bao’s team at Stanford has developed stretchable, super-sensitive and solar-powered “electronic skin,” or sensors that can feel a touch as light as that of a fly. One of its obvious applications is in touchscreens, and Bao said the research has generated a lot of inquiries from companies. “Right now there is a lot of interest in having sensors in the screen that can have pressure input for the touchscreen,” Bao said. “Companies are also basically looking for replacement material for the current silicon that is cheaper and compatible with plastic substrate but has the same performance level.” Specialty glass company Corning Inc, famous for its “gorilla glass” used in Apple devices, has an ultra-slim flexible glass called “willow glass” that has the potential to enable displays to be wrapped around a device. Corning said it is currently shipping samples of willow glass, which is compatible with OLED displays, to companies. SIZE MATTERS, FOR NOW Each new generation of tablets boasts big improvements in pixel density and image quality, making photos, games and movies more life-like. Manufacturers and software designers have made less progress finding ways to let computers give physical, tactile feedback — but they’re working on it. The stakes are high as tablets become more and more integrated with smartphones and other devices at home. Betting on the right technology and features is imperative, since the still-new category has already claimed many victims, including Hewlett Packard’s Touchpad tablet that was killed last year after only a few months on the market. With many companies entering the fray, vying to take share away from Apple’s iPad, those who get it right may end up influencing the way people communicate and consume all media. For now, size and price is where most manufacturers are competing as they try to break the dominance of Apple in the tablet market. Six out of 10 tablets sold are iPads. “The big open area that is left to tackle is truly great input,” said Tony Fadell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Nest Thermostat, who previously led the team at Apple that created 18 generations of iPods and three generations of the iPhone. “There is tactile input as well as voice input. Those are the two inputs that still need to be addressed in tablets,” Fadell said. In a recent patent application related to tactile, or haptic, technology, Apple in May outlined how features could be added to a screen that would make it possible to alter the feel of its surface. Manufacturers are also working to improve gesture recognition, augmented reality and voice controls like Apple’s Siri. IBM Fellow Bernie Meyerson expects major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence in the next several years. He envisions people having real, spoken conversations with their devices, which will boast technology much more advanced than IBM’s Watson computer that defeated two champions on the Jeopardy gameshow last year. “You hand it to your grandmother and it just works. It will adapt, tune itself to your voice,” Meyerson said. “You’ll have something that you carry around in your pocket and it listens to you when you want it to.” Laser projection keyboard devices that connect to mobile devices by Bluetooth are already available, although some say the technology is still buggy. In June, Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet, with a 10.6 inch display and a protective cover that doubles as a keyboard. Other new and upcoming improvements in tablet hardware are seen as attractive but less important differentiators. At an industry event in Madrid earlier this year, manufacturers dunked tablets and smartphones in aquariums to show off new waterproof coatings. Intel Corp recently showed off “ultrabook” laptops with screens that swivel from their keyboards or detach completely to act as tablets.

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‘New Google tablet to rival Amazon’s Kindle’

TAIPEI: Google Inc will soon unveil a tablet co-branded with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc and priced to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire device, an Asustek executive said on Wednesday.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which runs a version of Google’s Android operating system, sells for $199. Through it users can access Amazon content including books, music and video.

“It’s targeting Amazon. The Kindle is based on Google’s platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too,” said the executive of the device.

Google has its own store for apps called Google Play, but does not have anything like Amazon’s service.

It was earlier reported that Google would launch a tablet at its developer conference this week, taking direct aim at Apple Inc’s iPad, citing two people familiar with the matter. One of the sources said the 7-inch tablet would showcase new features of Android.

The Asustek executive, who did not want to be named as the planned device has not yet been made public, declined to give details on its price, specifications or launch timetable. Rumours that the search engine giant planned to launch a tablet at its annual developer conference have circulated on tech blogs for weeks.

Google declined to comment.

Apple’s iPad had a 68 per cent share of the market in January-March, according to data from IDC. Amazon had a little over 4 per cent, lagging Samsung Electronics and Lenovo. Microsoft last week introduced its own line of tablet computers, marking a major strategic shift for the software giant as it struggles to compete with Apple and re-invent its aging Windows franchise.

Google has previously worked with hardware manufacturers HTC and Samsung to produce co-branded Android mobile phones under the Nexus brand. This would be its first such tablet device.

Asustek shares gained 2.6 per cent in Taipei, outperforming a 0.6 per cent gain on the benchmark stock index.

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Microsoft tablet to have little impact in 2012: Analyst

WASHINGTON: Even with its highly publicized launch of a new tablet computer, Microsoft is expected to have little impact this year on the fast-growing market, a research firm said Wednesday.

ABI Research expects Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT-based tablets to account for only 1.3 percent of 2012 global shipments.

This is because there is a dearth of products using the existing Windows 7 operating system and the new Windows RT and Windows 8 operating systems are likely to hit the market in October.

Microsoft, which has been largely absent from the tablet market dominated by Apple’s iPad, said this week it would launch its own branded tablet his year called Surface. But many details and pricing were not revealed.

“The obvious ‘low hanging’ market opportunity for Microsoft’s Surface tablets is with business buyers that have an installed base of Windows PCs,” ABI said.

“Microsoft may face an uphill battle by throwing its hat into the mobile computing tablet ring.”

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer described the iPad challenger — complete with a built-in stand and ultra thin covers-cum-keyboards in a range of colors — as a tablet that “works and plays.”

The Surface features a flip-out rear “kickstand” to prop it up like a picture frame and can be combined with a 3mm-thick Touch Cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad so tablets could be switched into “desktop” mode.

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