Everything You Need to Know about Google’s Latest Products (Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Buds)

We know Google as a search engine and a global marketing platform. Did you know Google sells hardware too?

In the latest hardware event, Google unveiled new smartphones, that is, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. We will discuss the specs of the two phones shortly but the company is big on competing with the world’s tech giants.

In addition to the smartphones, the Company announced new laptops and smart home devices.

Why announce new products at the close of the year, you ask? Well, we are headed to the Christmas season. The world goes into a shopping craze during the holiday.

Let us now look at the new products that Google released into the market

Smartphones: Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

How would you like to take a clear picture of the stars at night? Have you ever tried that with your smartphone? We bet you did not like the output!

Google’s Pixel 4 enables you to get a clear picture of the Milkyway.  It has a powerful night camera not to mention the normal day-camera.

The company’s initial target market is the US. Buyers will thank Google for having this phone on during a car crash. The phone has a unique feature that detects a car crash.

It will automatically dial 911 when this feature is activated. That means the owner gets immediate medical attention.

Here is another feature that smartphone users will love. Google included a detection feature for gestures. Pixel 4 has the fastest face unlock, which competes with other phones in the market with such features.

With the radar detection, you can make a gesture in the air and the device will immediately unlock. You can also swipe in the air to move from one app to another.

The main difference between Pixel 4 and XL is the size. Pixel 4 XL has a 6.3 inch screen display while the normal Pixel 4 has 5.7 inch display.

The manufacturer has gone a step further to include 90hz display. Such a display prolongs the device’s battery life.

Another advantage of this new display is that it makes scrolling smoother and easier compared to the traditional display. You can turn the display on and off as you desire.

Google has made the new phones more accessible to buyers than previous Pixel models. For previous models, buyers had to unlock them from vendors including Google or from Verizon.

The new smartphones will be accessible through all the major carriers in the US. Are you curious about the price?

We know you are! The new Pixel 4 will start from $799.

Pixelbook Go

Google has explored the market for laptops alongside other hardware. In the event, the company introduced a new version of its Pixelbook laptop.

You can expect improved features every time a manufacturer has a new version of the same device. The new Pixelbook Go is lighter than the original version.

In addition, the bottom design gives you a better grip on the laptop. It has a longer battery life (12 hours). Yes, you read right, it is 12 hours.

Pause for a moment and consider the battery life of your current laptop. Can you work with it all day without charging?

Other improvements on the laptop include a magnesium casing and a larger 13.3-inch diplay.

The price of Pixelbook Go starts at $649.

Pixel Buds

Google introduced new Pixel Buds in the event. They will be available in the market in 2020. Music lovers will enjoy these Buds because of their amazing features include the wireless design.

Google introduced a previous version of the same buds that were connected through a wire. The new buds are completely wireless, so you can forget about tangled wires.

Look out for its adaptive sound technology. What does that mean?

You do not need to adjust the volume every time you change your environment. The Pixel Buds will automatically increase or reduce the volume to suit your environment.

The buds have a spatial vent design, which protects you from clogged ears. If you have used headphone for a long time, you know the irritation in your ears.

Google has boosted the speakers to improve the output and updated the sensors as well. However, the buds are still light to carry around.

Another feature we need to mention here is the long-range for the Bluetooth connection. You can enjoy the music on your headphones even when you move further from your device.

Nest Home Devices

Google has a Nest package of smart home products. The products in this package that have improvements include the Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus.

The coverage for both programs has expanded. The updates will be available to Nest customers in the coming year.

Google has upgraded the Nest Wifi routers with 25% more coverage. The routers are faster than the previous routers. Starting November, customers can now choose between a 2 pack or 3 pack of the new routers.

The Nest Mini is also brand new with better speakers.

Stadia

Google did not leave gaming fans behind this year. Stadia is a service that enables users to stream their favourite video games.

The stream services started with a cloud feature earlier this year. Starting November 2019, you can use Stadia to stream video games to Google’s devices such as Chromebooks.

The streaming service comes with a special controller and retails at $9.99 per month.

A free take-home lesson

You define the limits for the growth and expansion of your business. Google started with answering search queries. It is the leading search engine in the world.

Millions of website and business owners rely on Google to reach their customers.

Today, Google is competing with top brands for mobile phones, laptops, and smart devices. Do not limit your business to one niche. Explore related niches.

We can also learn the need to keep updating products, including well-performing products.

The global competition is too steep for a company to maintain the same version of a product for years. Product development must be part of your business growth strategy.

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Sportpesa, Betin, and Little Shuttle Exit: Is Kenya Ready for Digital Disruption?

Kenyans have been following closely the battle between the government and betting companies since new taxation and licensing laws were introduced.

It is no secret that many young Kenyans are now addicted to gambling.

The announcement by Sportpesa and Betin was a blow to betting fans, not to mention their employees.

Both companies have had a rough journey since the government suspended their licences due to taxation issues.

Sportpesa termed the Kenyan market as a hostile environment to do business.

Kenyans have differing opinions on the exit. Some feel that the betting fever is out of control and so the exit is beneficial.

Another category is crying out for the thousands of jobs lost when the companies halt their operations in Kenya.

SWVL and Little Shuttle

Government regulation has hit the two hailing companies hard as well.

The National Transport and Safety Authority  (NTSA) says that the two companies have been operating without valid PSV licences.

Consequently, their operations were suspended starting October 1, 2019, until they acquire PSV licences.

SWVL and Little Shuttle have been offering relief to Nairobians from the chaotic matatu industry.

If you commute to and from work every day, you can attest to the madness on the roads.

If you are not stuck in traffic, you are struggling to get a ride home or to work.

Should we mention the occasional strikes that force Kenyans to walk miles to work?

Commonalities

One thing to note about the three companies that are exiting the Kenyan market is their investment in digital technology.

The giants embraced the advantages that mobile apps offer in different sectors.

Sportpesa and Betin have been among the largest players in the betting industry.

We recently featured the two as part of the betting companies with the best betting apps in the country and beyond.

Also Read: The List is here! Top betting apps in Kenya (2019)

Many players have joined the industry following their footsteps.

Kenyans have had multiple options for betting apps and websites because the two companies set a high standard in the industry.

Gambling is not a new trade. There are casinos all over the major cities in the country.

Betting websites have been there for decades. However, the introduction of betting apps has disrupted the betting industry.

Betting companies have developed apps with a simple interface and easy language.

In Kenya, integrating mobile payments such as Mpesa and Airtel Money into the apps made betting easier.

The bus sharing companies, Little Shuttle and SWVL enable commuters to book a comfortable shuttle via an app.

Instead of queuing at bus stops and crowded bus stations, commuters can book a ride when they are to move from point A to B.

The fares are slightly higher than the fares charged by ordinary matatus. However, the companies target travellers that own personal cars but need public transport occasionally.

With the new regulation that NTSA imposed, the hailing services may fall into the category of normal matatus.

Image: Pulse

Is Kenya ready for digital disruption?

The need to control the betting craze makes some sense. In fact, some Kenyans have welcomed the Sportpesa, Betin exit despite the job losses.

However, the move by the government on the taxi app companies raises some questions. Were we prepared for the effect of digital technologies?

Taxi apps have already disrupted the transport industry. In the past, Kenyans would negotiate for taxi services with drivers.

Today, you can use Uber, Taxify, Little Cab, inDriver and any other taxi app to book a cheap taxi ride.

Mobile apps such as Glovo have also disrupted logistics and delivery companies. You just need an app to order a meal, shop for groceries, or buy any item you need online and get it at your doorstep.

You do not need to call a delivery company for that.

Think about banking, which was a headache for such a long time.

You can access your bank account and transact using your bank’s mobile app.

Do we need to revisit the popularity of mobile loan apps that have taken over the lending space in Kenya?

Apps have replaced the long documentation process that was associated with a loan application.

Also Read: Why are Instant Loans Popular in Kenya Despite Metropol CRB Listings?

The impact of social apps on business and communication is phenomenon. Businesses now rely on social media to stay in touch with clients.

Social apps and bots have replaced emails and calls in most industries.

The big question is, were we ready for this disruption?

Is the move by the government to tax digital companies an indication of our unpreparedness to deal with the effects of digital technologies?

The reality is that imposing heavy taxation on such companies that embraced new technologies is a blow to innovation.

New players are now hesitant to join the industries until the tax rows and licensing issues are resolved.

Players in the real estate, housing, education, and agricultural sector have had to keep up with the latest technologies to stay relevant.

Were the arms of government prepared for such disruptive technological changes?

Moving forward

It is impossible to control the digital disruption across industries. Technological innovation cannot be stopped because of its benefits.

The good thing is that it is possible to observe trends and anticipate their impact on the economy.

Kenyans are innovative. However, most of the disruptive trends start from developed countries.

Betting and bus sharing apps were established in developed countries long before the players entered the Kenyan market.

The government has an obligation to control the business environment and ensure that players pay the taxes due according to Taxation laws.

However, it is prudent for the government to bring up such issues when issuing licenses.

The exiting companies cry foul because the taxation and licensing issues arose when they began to make huge profits.

The government has enough technical experts who can follow the trends and advice on the required changes in laws and policies.

Otherwise, we will continue to witness massive job losses in an economy where thousands of graduates are unemployed.

The call to anticipate changes also goes to business owners who are comfortable with the traditional business environment.

Taxi owners were hostile when new taxi apps were introduced in the market. Despite the strikes, the taxi companies started their operations.

Business owners should explore the opportunities that digital technologies offer instead of resisting change.

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Huawei Mate 30 Phone Series Are Finally Out Without Google Apps

The Huawei ban in the US got many people talking around the world. The ban is perhaps the greatest challenge that the Chinese company has faced this year.

Huawei promised to bounce back and keep dominating the Android world.

The newly launched Mate 30 phone series is proof that the tech giant is determined to stay on top.

The ban meant that Huawei could no longer include Google services in new phone models.

Hence, both Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro models have no Google apps. This means you cannot access your favourite apps on the Google Play Store.

In addition, you cannot access Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Photos or Google Drive.

The missing features have everyone wondering if the company will manage to sell the phones beyond China.

Would you buy a phone without Google Services? Well, before we talk about the price range, let us look at the specs.

Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro Specs and Features

Phone manufacturers often introduce two models of the same series at different prices. The Pro version has premium or better features, which is the case with the Mate 30 series.

Similar features:

Both phones have the same processor (Huawei Kirin 990), Operating system (EMU1 10), and Memory (8GB RAM). Both phones have a similar third rear camera (f/2.4 aperture 8MP, Telephoto camera).

Other similar features include the horizontal display and phone colors. You can pick any color from black, space silver, cosmic purple, or emerald green.

Differences in features

The table below displays the features of both 5G phones:

Feature Mate 30 Mate 30 Pro
Display 2340 x 1080 OLED screen (6.62 inches) 2400 x 11176 OLED screen (6.53 inches)
Storage 128 GB 256 GB
Front Camera 24MP 32MP
First Rear Camera f/1.8 aperture, Super sensing camera (40MP) f/1.6 aperture, Super sensing camera (40MP)
Second Rear Camera f/2.2 aperture, ultra wide angel camera (16MP) f/1.8 aperture, cine camera (40MP)
Fourth Rear Camera None 3D Depth sensing camera
Battery 4,200 mAh 4,500 mAh

You can tell from the list of features that Huawei went all out with the cameras and displays. Multiple rear cameras are the latest trend in smartphones.

In today’s world of selfies and preferences for visual content, phone brands are keen on the quality of both front and rear cameras.

Another notable feature is the large storage space, especially for the Mate 30 Pro.

You cannot offer 4 cameras and fail to provide enough space to store the photos and videos.

For the Mate 30 Pro customers, the Cine Camera stands out. Such a camera gives high-quality time-lapse videos.

Users can also take ultra slow motion and light videos.

The Porsche Design

The regular collection of both Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro has a matte finish in the four colors mentioned above.

The Porsche Design is a luxurious design of the same series of phone. You can go for the vegan leather forest green finish or the vegan leather orange.

You know how far you go to protect a new phone device with extra covers. This Porsche design protects the Android smartphone besides its expensive look and finish.

Pricing

Here is the part that everyone is curious to know- the price. We wish to tell you that the price fair but it is not.

China is the first market for the phone series. Both models will be on sale next month (October).

The Mate 30 price is set at €799, which is about $883. That is about Ksh. 80,000. How many phone brands sell at this price?

The Mate 30 Pro is priced at €1,099, which is around $1, 214. Converted to Kenya shillings, the phone is about Ksh.120, 000.

The Porsche Design (named Mate 30 RS) is more expensive than the other two, perhaps way too expensive.

The price tag is €2,095, which is converted to $2,318. We are talking about nearly the same specs with a leather finish at about Ksh. 230,000.

Thoughts on missing Google services

Back to the most intriguing part of this phone launch. In addition to the steep prices, the 5G phones lack Google services.

Huawei is spending about $1 billion to develop its own app store now that Google Play Store is still banned.

The move is the company’s effort to overcome the effects of the trade wars.

However, the question that most people have asked since the launch was first announced is on selling or marketing the devices.

The Chinese market is likely to keep supporting its brand. Huawei phones have been contributing to the company’s revenues for years.

The main challenge is marketing the phones at such high prices without Google services to the rest of the world.

We develop mobiles apps in Kenya so we understand how important Google Play Store is to phone buyers.

In fact, most people upgrade to expensive brands to access more features including their favourite apps and games.

For taxi-hailing apps like Uber and Taxify, a phone without Google Maps is simply out of question. Delivery and logistics apps fall into this category as well.

Video content has become increasingly popular among internet users and the majority trust the YouTube platform.

Consider the fact that the Android platform is the most popular in Kenya and around the world.

App owners prefer to list their apps on Google Play Store for easy access and to reach the large market.

Are customers willing to suddenly change from Google to Huawei’s new app store? Will app owners be willing to list their apps elsewhere for the sake of Huawei phone users?

The reality is that only a slice of the market for Android smartphones can afford the new Mate 30 phone models.

Huawei will have to keep rethinking its brand strategy before the world buys its new app store.

Conclusion

Despite the major missing feature, the Huawei Mate 30 and Mater 30 Pro have very competitive features. It is impossible for phone manufacturers to ignore the quality of Android smartphones that Huawei offers in the market. Huawei is still a competitive brand and with the right strategy, the company will stay afloat.

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10 Important Lessons from the SOAR Africa Leadership and Entrepreneurship Summit

The much-publicised event, SOAR Africa Leadership and Entrepreneurship Summit finally took place in Nairobi. From the moment the main speaker, Bishop T. D. Jakes landed in the country, Kenyans have learnt important business lessons.

The American clergy and entrepreneur was not the only speaker at the event. From the dinner to the main summit, local leaders across all sectors have been sharing their leadership skills and lessons.

The speakers included Sylvia Mulinge (Safaricom), Strive Masiyiwa, Polycarp Igathe, Njoki Ndungu, Fred Matiangi (CS, Interior), Nunu Ntshingila (Facebook Africa), and  Darshan Chandaria among others.

What did entrepreneurs take home from this event? Here are top the lessons in summary:

1. Look inside you

One of the quotes that caught many people’s attention from Bishop Jakes was, “”You wake up not because of what’s around you, but what’s inside you.”

The emphasis was on looking on the skills, ideas, knowledge and passions within. Many entrepreneurs seek motivation but real change happens when they start pursuing their convictions.

Looking on the inside means that you stop complaining about what is missing and work with what you have.

In addition, when you are busy building what you believe in, you have little time to focus on those who do not believe in your dreams.

You become unstoppable the moment you stop looking for validation from others to pursue your dream.

Success happens when you actualize what lies inside on the outside.

2. Grow through challenges

You must expect challenges in business even with the right model and internal infrastructure. Your attitude will determine if you soar above the challenges or remain in the same position.

The Bishop called them “fire” or “trauma.” Understand that challenges refine you. Learning the art of self-healing is not optional. You must keep working in spite of the challenges.

Anyone who has done anything great or commendable in life has overcome one challenge after another.

The circumstances in your life should not distract you from pursuing your life’s purpose.

3. Build infrastructure

Stress while running your business is a sign that you have an inadequate infrastructure. It is a sign that you need to upgrade your infrastructure to meet your current level of growth.

Your internal capacity should grow at the same pace as your business. Otherwise, you will always be stressed as a business owner.

4. Never stop learning

You must remain a student in life and in business. Be open to unlearn old strategies and learn new things.

Technology changes every day. Do not be complacent but adopt a learning attitude in whatever field your passion lies.

Growth requires that you be willing to face the truth about your weaknesses. Include honest people in your inner circle who can tell you that truth for you to grow.

Learning is not enough. You must be willing to apply the lessons fully. You cannot select the easy lesson and leave out the hard lessons.

The lessons are meaningless if you are not willing to pay the price required to implement them fully.

5. Keep your promise

Branding is perhaps one of the major lessons to take home from this summit. Every time you create a brand, you make a promise. Keep that promise.

Are you as good as your branding message?

Give the clients or consumers an experience that matches the promise that your brand makes. If you have not been faithful to keep your promise, well, it is not too late to change.

Think global when building your brand. Modern technology makes it easy now to market products to the global market.

Another important lesson about branding; protect your brand!

6. Be patient

Figuring out your passion may take years. Be patient.

Bishop Jakes shared from his own experience. He did not figure out what his real passions and purpose were until he was 40.

Your brand is not that old. Give it time to develop.

If you still have not figured out your niche, give yourself time to discover it. You will be unstoppable when you finally figure it out.

7. Design for the future

Do not build your business or brand based on the past. Instead, design strategies for the future.

As an entrepreneur, you must anticipate change in your niche and plan.

Building for the future means that you focus on building a sustainable business.

What changes do you foresee that may make your brand or product irrelevant? Which technological changes may replace you as an employee or professional?

Start planning for such changes today.

8. Learn to negotiate and collaborate

If you want to bring a significant change in your world, you must learn to work with others. You do not always get everything you want on a negotiating table.

Learn the art of giving and taking from others. Negotiate what you need but be willing to accept what others are willing to offer.

Some changes, especially at the national and international level require collaboration among various stakeholders.

The public and private sectors sometimes have to work together to effect change. Find people with similar values as you and work together.

9. Identify and meet needs

Strive Masiyiwa made success in business sound to simple. It is all about getting back to the basics.

Success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to identify and meet human needs.

You probably as doing this but you can do more.

The next level of your success in business will depend on the needs you will meet with new products.

10. Think Africa

The fact that such great minds can come together in Africa should tell you that the continent has untapped potential.

Why would global companies be willing to come to the continent?

Apart from the implied lessons about our continent, the discussions at the summit pointed to the opportunities to do business.

In fact, the panellists emphasized that it is the best time to have a business idea in Africa. You will have a market for your product because technology has created new marketing opportunities.

Local companies such as KCB are already preparing the youth for self-employment. In other words, if you do not identify unmet needs and build a business around them now, someone is in school learning how to do it.

We cannot cover all the lessons from the summit that took days. However, we have summarized some of the top lessons learnt. As the panellists mentioned, the real change comes when you are willing to pay the price to implement the lessons.

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The List is here! Top betting apps in Kenya (2019)

Betting apps in Kenya have remained popular despite the changes in government regulations.

The Kenyan government imposed a 20% tax rate on betting winnings but the gambling craze is still on.

Some companies have had to battle in court to maintain their licenses.

International betting companies dominate the betting world in Kenya.

The highest percentage of companies offers their services on websites and not betting apps.

A few have developed mobile apps to improve the experience for their users.

Mobile apps give players the same experience of a betting website with increased connectivity.

Some companies offer the option of betting via SMS or USSD code to save on data charges.

In this review, we focus on companies that have both a betting website and functional mobile app.

1. SportPesa

SportPesa is among the most popular betting apps in the Kenyan market. It was also among the first apps to hit the market.

The developers emphasize on the simplicity of following and placing bets on the app for the users.

In addition, the developers have been updating the app to optimise its performance.

The speed of placing bets on teams is important to users because it has an effect on their data usage.

Another top feature of the SportPesa app is the intuitive user interface. A large number of football fans have limited technical skills.

A simple and intuitive interface makes the app a favourite. The app is free to download and use.

Users enjoy a variety of sports to place bets on including tennis, football, and rugby among others.

2. 1XBET

The 1XBET betting company has a large international clientele of more than 400,000 site users.

Betting fans consider the stability of the betting company when choosing an app. 1XBET offers this guarantee, which partly explains its growing popularity in Kenya.

The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The first deposit bonus of up to Ksh.10, 000 attracts many users.

The company has an excellent live betting platform and its jackpots are high.

Kenyans also use 1XBET because of the reliable customer services and high odds across all sports.

3. Betika

Betika has done a considerable good job of marketing the app across all online and offline platforms.

Many betting apps in Kenya emphasize on large initial bonuses. Betika attracts users with the betting amount.

Kenyan users can place a bet with as little as Ksh.49.

The app offers high odds as well across all sports and a great experience on both the app and website.

Kenyans run for the daily Betika bonuses and jackpot matches.

Similar to most betting apps, Betika offers instant deposits and withdrawals

Betika app is free and compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.

READ ALSO: Why are Instant Loans Popular in Kenya Despite Metropol CRB Listings?

4. Sportybet

The company offers a fast and light betting app to users. Users can complete the process of placing bets within 6MB.

Such a rate is affordable to many Kenyans given the declining data charges across all mobile carriers.

Another amazing feature of the betting app is instant notifications. Users know instantly when they win to cash out their returns.

Sportybet gives users the freedom to choose between full and partial cash out. Every bet has a return despite the outcome.

The app allows users to bet with any amount from Ksh.50 to Ksh.300. The Karibu bonus for placing an initial bet within that range is Ksh.1, 000.

The Sportybet is different from other betting apps in Kenya in that is allows users to bet on virtual games.

5. M-Bet

Kenyans have preferred international companies for a long time because of the risks involved in the game.

However, Kenyan companies such as M-Bet have managed to penetrate and gain a significant market share.

The company is fully incorporated according to the laws of Kenya for gaming sites.

M-Bet gives an easy experience to users and is available on all mobile networks in the country.

The company started by building its betting site before introducing its free apps to its users.

App users can bet on multiple sports and virtual games.

6. Mcheza

Developers have worked hard at making betting apps appealing to Kenyans.

The Mcheza app is among the apps that resonate with users right from its name to its unique features.

The company provides an option of using USSD code to register and place bets in case of internet disconnection.

Users can cash out their bets at any time during a live game or even before a game starts.

In addition, users can withdraw their bet via SMS at any time.

Mcheza offers virtuals sports in addition to other international sports such as rugby, football, basketball and tennis.

Similar to other betting apps in Kenya, the Mcheza app uses the Lipa na Mpesa payment option for deposits and withdrawals.

The app is available on the Android platform, which is the most popular mobile platform in Kenya.

Quick tips on how to choose a betting app

1. Privacy policy

Avoid betting companies without a privacy policy if you want to keep your personal data safe.

Remember that you will be required to give your personal details for registration.

You will also provide your mobile money account for deposits and withdrawals.

2. Betting odds

Go for betting apps in Kenya with high betting odds.

High odds help you to lower your risks of overspending on betting.

3. User interface

The best betting apps should have a simple and friendly interface.

Betting is a fun game. You do not need long manuals to learn how to use an app.

4. Customer service

Betting apps and sites sometimes develop issues, especially when you want to place a bet or withdraw.

If you have any issue with your account, the customer care staff should be available to resolve it fast.

Read other client’s reviews and test the customer service before betting huge on a new app.

5. Payment options

Mpesa and Airtel Money are widely accepted in Kenya.

Get an app that supports your preferred payment method for deposits and withdrawals.

6. Bonuses

Every player deserves a good bonus from the preferred betting company.

Check the bonus policy right from the initial bonus and other bonus products.

Watch out for companies with a high initial bonus but low earnings on other products.

7. Variety

Football is huge in Kenya but you need more than one sport.

What happens when a league ends? Do you stop winning?

Choose an app with a variety of games, especially your favourite games.

Final remarks

Choosing the best among the top betting apps in Kenya is now easy for you. However, you must play responsibly to enjoy the game. The list of apps will grow as more betting companies develop apps to enhance user experience.

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