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Old 06-08-2009, 01:46 PM
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Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

Everyone who have made the switch to the pre or used it for a considerable amount of time please post your general review of it here to keep it all the Pros/Cons/Bugs etc. in one thread

Last edited by MikeElGiga23; 06-08-2009 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:50 PM
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Palm Pre: The Experience (well at least mine)

I apologize to everyone in advance for the lengthy post. I just wanted to share my experience and impressions with everyone. As soon as I get a chance I will upload some pictures comparing the devices. EnjoyÖand feel free to skip over the boring parts!

The Adventure:

I got to my local sprint store at 7:20 am Saturday June 6th. I was the 22nd person in line and by the time they opened the doors at 8 am there were 54 people in line. Place cards were handed out to all standing in line to preserve order along with a pre-requisite paper explaining that you must have an unlimited data plan, NO EXEPTIONS!!! I myself, was on a family everything messaging with $5 unlimited data addon and the person in line next to me was on a $30 SERO, so this info had us a bit concerned.

A rep from Palm (yes Palm not Sprint) walked through the line letting us play with his Pre while we waited. There were 11 sprint employees working and were instructed only allow people in for Palm Pre purchases! It took about 2.5 hours for me to finally get called up and by this point the anticipation alone was enough to make me feel the need to do anything to walk out the door with that phone in my hand!

The sprint rep took my number card and went to the back to grab my pre, came back and asked for my account info to begin the process. Unfortunately he kept getting an error in the activation process. He walked away for a few minutes and then came back and explained that the error was due to the plan, I indeed did need to have an everything data plan and there was no was to activate the phone without it. I stepped aside and called sprint customer service. It was a very long call but to sum it up: There was apparently an agreement made (contract maybe?) that all palm pre devices are required to be on an everything data, no exceptions, no loopholes and believe me I tried!

My current plan was running me $135 for 5 phones 1500 mins and unlimited data only on my line. The new plan cost $190 a month for the same but now all phones had unlimited everything (except minutes). All would be well if everyone used data but no one does but me so it basically is costing 55 more a month to own the new Pre. Not worth it in my book, but as I said earlier, I would do anything at this point! So with the understanding that I have 30 to return the device and revert to my old plan I got the phone and walked out exhausted!

Side note: For those of you toying with the idea of buying the Pre, the $199 after rebate is only good if you are eligible for the full 2 year $150 discount. If you are only eligible for the 1 year $75 it is off of the retail price of $549 with no rebate bringing your total to $475! Thatís an expensive little piece of hardware!

The Aftermath:

After getting the phone I immediately called sprint back about the plan details to see if there was any way to have the data only on my phone to make the plan more reasonable and since I was the only one using the data. After being told NO by four different reps, I was transferred to the retentions department. The lady was very courteous and understanding (donít know if it was genuine or just to ďretainĒ me, I think the latter) and after reviewing the notes on my account gave me a 10% discount on the monthly bill as well as one full month credit and $40 credits for the next three months to help ease the pain. Good move sprint, you kept me a loyal cusomer! After adding up all the credits applying the discount and averaging them over the duration of the contract , I am now only paying $13 more per month than my previous bill. This I can live with!

My new friend on the SERO plan called as well, he was not quite as lucky. They made him switch to the everything data 450 plan and gave him the same 10% discount. That switch made his monthly bill go from $30 to $60 for essentially the exact same plan. Like me, he was just happy to walk out of there with his new Pre!

First Impressions:

Screen: The first thing you see when you look at the phone is the screen. Now I donít know if it is because the screen can show a full 16 million colors or the just the source of backlighting, but the screen just pops out at you! When the palm rep came by to demo his to us one of the guys thought it was a fake phone with a vivid printed screen until he touch it and it responded. I am amazed that a screen that has less resolution than my diamond and pro, and is larger could look so crystal clear. Also, keep in mind we were outside in the morning sun. In the afternoon in direct sunlight the screen is very readable, however the glossy coating plus fingerprints creates a bit of glare requiring you to tilt the phone up and down a bit to read it. Speaking of glossy screens and fingerprints, the screen is actually seamless all the way around the side until it meets the center of the phone where it slides. I like the way it looks but I am worried that it will get scratched easily. The screen is a fingerprint magnet! every little smudge shows when the screen is off (not so bad when the screen is on) luckily, the case they supply in the box is made of microfiber and clean the screen well, which is about all its useful for anyway.

Touch: The capacitive touch interface is very responsive. Very rarely do I have to tap on something twice because it didnít register the first time. The ripple effect is ingenious, it lets you know in a subtle way that you have in fact touched the screen and that it registered it! Swiping has a bit of a learning curve, but overall is very intuitive. When you swipe backwards on the bottom of the phone two led lights come on to indicate it registered the swipe. For some reason it only uses backward swipes, it does register a forward swipe, but does not seem to do anything in any of the programs so far. Multi-touch is very useful, especially when working with photos and web pages. It is very easy to zoom in and out and fairly accurate.

OS & UI: First impressions so far, very stable, intuitive and promising. There are a ton of new ideas, along with traditional ones, that went into this OS and I have to say for a first release of a new OS I am indeed impressed! The scrolling and swiping is very smooth and responsive. The "cards" are useful although I do sometimes wish they could be minimized rather than always blocking the background image. Initial loading of programs, dependent on the program, can be a bit laggy but if you leave your most used programs up as cards they come up almost instantly.

The unobtrusive notifications are truly great. If you are say, in the middle of posting something on ppcgeeks and a call comes through, it pops up at the bottom of the screen but allows you to continue typing in the web page. You can then swipe the call away if you choose to ignore or you can answer it and then go right back to where you were typing. It seems to do this same behavior for all types of notifications and also for music apps.

I have twice now hit the point where the device told me to close cards due to memory. Both times I had my pictures open as a card and had more than a dozen cards open at one time. Closing the pictures card seemed to free up enough memory to open 4 more cards with no memory message. The phone does get extremely laggy with that many cards open, but was still useable and closing a few cards brought it back to its original speedy self!

The OS also has a built in lock that is enabled by default. If you press the power button once and then wait a few seconds and hit it again the lock screen appears. Itís a very simple screen with a large digital clock at the top and a yellow circle with a lock symbol at the bottom. Upon placing your finger on the circle an outline of a half circle appears above, then you just drag the yellow lock in any direction outside of the line. This is a great implementation, it allows for easy one-handed unlocking and works great for both the right or left hand! When the device is locked you are also required to use the same unlocking motion to answer the call. Notifications are also displayed in the lock screen.

Phone: The dial pad has large easy to push buttons and has no lag at all when dialing. The call history is easy to use although I noticed that the scrolling does lag a bit when the contacts all have pictures. The sound out of the earpiece is clear and fairly loud but I have yet to use it in a loud environment. I have consistently been getting the same amount of bars as my Touch Pro as Iíve been traveling around the last couple of days. (I check almost obsessively) The speakerphone is loud and clear enough to use in the car, however, if you turn it up all the way it does get quite distorted so using it where there is a lot of background noise makes it hard to distinguish. The parties on the other end have told me that I came in loud and clear and were unable to distinguish the difference between a call on speaker and a regular one. So far no big complaints in this department but I will update as I use it more.


More to come on this and many other things! Plus images
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:50 PM
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Re: Palm Pre: The Experience (well at least mine)

Messaging: The messaging interface is a bit odd at first. You have two views, conversations and buddies. The conversations tab encompasses all communications from a given contact and shows them all in a threaded format. So when a picture message is sent it shows up with the rest of the texts and shows a preview of the image. The scrolling is smooth for the most part but it does tend to lag if the contact has a picture. I did notice one thing here, there seems to be no way to forward a txt and there is no way to copy its contents and send it in a new mail. This seems like a very simple and important thing to have hopefully an update to the OS will fix this!

Email: The email was easy to set up, in fact, as part of the activation process in the sprint store, you have to set up at least one email on the phone to setup your palm profile. I opted to use my gmail account, as soon as it was entered (all I did was enter the email address and my password it did the rest) all my mail started to pop up in the inbox. One thing I noticed here is that I donít seem to get any audible notification that the mail has come in and I cant seem to find a setting anywhere to set or change the alert. On that same token I cant find a place to change the tone for the messaging only the ringtone itself. Yet another thing that can hopefully be fixed by an update!

Bluetooth: Connecting Bluetooth gadgets is a breeze on this thing. I was able to connect a jabra 8040 headset, a Motorola HT820 wireless headphones, an Anycom Bluetooth Music Station Converter and my Pioneer AVIC-Z3 in the car, all without hassle. Music streaming sounds great on both the Motorola and the Anycom. After streaming music for 2 hours it did drain roughly 20% of the battery. Talking on the headset and car speakers worked great and it easily moved from one device to the other when I turned off the headset and started the car.

Battery: So far I have only had to full days to test the battery so nothing here is conclusive. The battery comes out of the box approx 50% charged. I played with the phone heavily the rest of the day and had to put it on the charger around 3pm. I pulled it off the charger at about 9am on Sunday and by the time I got home that evening with moderate-heavy usage (everyone wanted to play with it) it was at 18%. Not to bad considering how much the phone was played with. Today, Monday, it left the charger at 8am and with low-moderate usage (I use my pro for work during the weekdays) it is now at 20% at 12am. Initial results look promising but only time will tell on this one. FYI: I have pulled the battery out twice, once because I was switching out the back cover (it was open and very tempting to pull out) and again when the gps couldn't get a lock. The phone was fine after, no sign of this dreaded hard reset I've been reading about.

Charger: The one that comes in the box is in two pieces, a micro usb cable and a little cylindrical adapter that has a usb port on one end and a flipout wall plug on the other. The plug cover on the side of the phone is pretty hard to remove the first time and feels like you are cracking the side to do so. I really wish they used a mini-usb rather than micro. I understand it is a space saving but I just feel like mini has been more widely adopted and chargers and other accessories are just more readily available. I used to use one car charger that I shared between my diamond and pro. The charging through the cable takes a little over an hour for a full charge.

If you are willing to shell out another $70 you can get the touchstone charger for an even better charging experience. The touchstone kit comes with a new matte back cover that has a softgrip coating. I personally like this a lot better than the glossy back that comes with the phone, it feels more secure in hand, doesnít show fingerprints and should protect better from scratches. Upon placing the phone on the touchstone it snaps into place and a notification pops up telling you it is charging. If a call comes in while the phone is on the charger it automatically routs the call to the speaker. If you then pick up the phone it automatically switches back to the earpiece.

Camera: The camera is a 3.2 megapixel fixed-focus camera with led flash. The interface is very very basic. One button for the shutter, one to view pictures youíve taken and one to turn the flash on and off or auto. While the clarity and focus is not nearly as nice as the diamondís, the real genius to it is the speed. Press the shutter button and it takes the picture immediately, the picture quickly disappears and you are immediately ready to take your next picture. Granted my experience is limited mainly to the devices Iíve owned in the past, but this truly tops them all for usability. The camera does lack settings though, no control over megapixels, quality etc. etc. Lets face it, a camera on your phone is for those quick shots anyway, when you donít have a digital camera on you.

Updated as of 6-15-09:

App Catalogue: While this is by no means a new idea, it is definitely a well implemented one that is nicely laid out and easy to navigate. The ability to download, install and read/write reviews all over the air is a welcomed feature. The app catalogue is still quite empty at the moment (only about 30 apps) but I have no doubts that it will start to fill up as the WebOS platform starts to take off!

System Updates: The system updates are all done OTA just like the app catalogue. There was already an update to WebOS 1.0.2 waiting to be downloaded when I first got the phone. The update did not reset any data on the phone, all of my contacts, calendar entries and apps were still there after it ran. I also noticed that the system update will check for updates to your apps as well.

GPS: So far the GPS has been great. It gets a lock very quickly and seems to be quite accurate. I have used it along side my avic-z3 navi in the car and the phone keeps up with it just fine. There were even a couple of times that the sprint navi was able to recalculate the route faster than the z3 although most of the time they were exactly the same. It is nice to have a connected gps though, the maps in my car are already outdated but the sprint navi is always up to date. It is definitely more accurate and less laggy than the touch pro in this department.

Keyboard: This is one of the things that had me worried about the switch to the pre at first. I love the onscreen keyboards on my diamond and the hardware keyboard on the pro is great, but the tiny keys and lack of soft keyboard on the pre concerned me until I got to test it out. The keys have a rubbery, tacky feel to them that makes for good grip when pressing. The spacing is not bad although if you are two thumb typing and you come to a word that two of the letters are right next to each other it will slow you down a bit. I have medium sized hands, for those of you with fat-finger syndrome, your mileage may vary.

The balance of the phone when the keyboard is out is also quite good. This makes the phone feel secure in your hand while typing and not like the phone will topple over at any time. This is also good for one handed typing, the only complaint here is that the keys at either edge of the keyboard are hard to hit when using one hand, mainly the right side, if you are right handed. (Public service announcement: Donít text and drive! ) One other thing to note here, the bottom edge, as previously reported, is quite sharp! Iím not exactly sure how this one got by the design team but I really feel they should have dulled it, even just a bit.

Size: The size, for me, is perfect. The phone is about the same thickness as the diamond (slightly thicker with the touchstone charging back on it) but shorter and wider. See my comparison photos for a better idea of size. The rounded edges, however give the pre a very different in hand feel, almost more ergonomic. I think this was part of the idea when designing the hardware, rounded edges, curved slider and very balanced. The phone is as comfortable up to your ear as it is in your hand or in your pocket. Again, for me this makes the size perfect but this is subjective to your own likings.

Synergy: Another great feature is what palm is calling synergy. Social networking has boomed in recent years, but with so many sites to belong to and so updates to check, it can be consuming and sometimes redundant. The idea here is to consolidate all of your networks into one central device so all your information is available with the swipe of a finger. In theory this is great but I think it still has a ways to go. You can synchronize your calendars, contacts, etc. into one place. But be forewarned, if you have a lot of facebook friends they are all going to be placed in your contacts on your phone. Or, if you sync gmail, all addresses that are auto stored in your contact list will show up in your phone. Cleaning it up is not to bad, but it would be nice if there were an options page where we could choose what data we would like to sync.

Universal Search: A very basic function, but also very useful, universal search allows you to search for anything simply by typing. Bring yourself to the card view and start typing, be it a contact name, website, or search engine query, it is all found through the same place. I have used this more than I ever thought I would. It makes finding things on your phone quick and painless and is especially nice for navigating to web pages since you just type the address and press enter and it tikes you there. Side note: You can add a shortcut to any website to your launcher menu by going to web Ė page Ė add to launcher.

Faults: After over a full week of using the phone, here are some of my gripes. I will try to update as I use the phone more:

Contacts quick scroll Ė When pulling up contacts in various sections such as messaging there is no way to quickly scroll through the names like with random access. It would be nice to be able to quickly scroll to a letter and then find the name from there. Some places allow you to start typing the name but this requires you slide out the keyboard. It may sound minor but an extra step is always one to many.

No forwarding in messaging Ė there is currently no way to forward a text/mms to someone else. I donít use this feature often but it seems like common sense to build it in. It is available in the email app and I cant imagine it being that much trouble to implement. Hopefully an OS update will fix this.

No led indicator for notifications Ė This one actually bugs me a lot. If you walk away from your phone and miss a call, text or email, there is no external indicator to alert you to this. You have to press the power button or slide the phone open to check for missed events. This seems pretty fundamental as well, the LEDs are there, hopefully this can also be fixed with an update.

Top end notifications Ė This one is personal preference. I think it would be nice if we could set the notifications to show up at the top, at least when the phone is locked if not always. When you slide to unlock it covers the notifications area, also this would be nice because if you are using the case that comes in the box, you could just slip the top of the phone out to check notifications rather than taking it all the way out.

Canít customize notification sounds Ė This one has been discussed up and down already so I wont make you read about it again. I just hope that when/if they do implement this that we will at some point be able to control sounds for all the different kind of notifications.

No audible email notifications Ė Another notifications issue. I get a lot of email and like to be alerted when it comes in. This is something I hope gets implemented right away. - Update 6-16-09: Found where to set this. In your email go to prefrences & accounts, click on the account and scroll down. There is a place to set notifications, vibrate and sound!

Alarm clock snooze Ė I use my phone as an alarm. Itís especially handy while traveling. When the alarm goes off and you have snooze enabled, the button for snooze is directly below the dismiss button. There is plenty of screen space it would just make more logical sense to have the snooze button in the center of the screen or at least separated from the dismiss button.

Sharp lower edge Ė This baffles me. How they allowed a product to be released with this sharp edge is beyond me. Maybe they thought since it isnít a childrenís toy, its not a problem. It is definitely sharp enough to cut you in the right circumstances; I even watched a video of someone slicing cheese with it! So far I have not had a problem, but it does cause some concern for the future.

No external memory slot Ė Ok, so thereís nothing that can be done about this so I wont go on and on, but I would have preferred to have the ability to add additional memory or some kind of removable media. This is one advantage the touch pro has, I like keeping all my files and pim backups on the card and being able to pop it out at a moments notice.

Wireless media sync Ė There is Missing Sync for Mac and Pocket Mirror for PC but they both only sync PIM data and only through wifi or USB. It would be great if we could also sync music and photos and other files wirelessly. It would be even better if we could set it up to go through evdo! This would make life so much easier; if you have the touchstone plus wireless sync there would be almost no reason to ever plug it in.

Last edited by Scottcrsi; 06-16-2009 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:51 PM
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Re: Palm Pre: The Experience (well at least mine)

Here are a few screen shots I took. Soon as I can I will also upload comparison shots of the pre with other devices.









Ok...here are those comparison shots I promised:






































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Old 06-08-2009, 03:52 PM
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Re: Palm Pre: The Experience (well at least mine)

My appoligies to the mods, I must have been blind as a bat to have missed that sticky!!! Thanks for moving it to the correct location!

Last edited by Scottcrsi; 06-08-2009 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:13 PM
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Re: Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

I don't have the time at the moment to go through a full review, but here are some of my gripes:

1. There are no arrow keys so when texting or emailing it is a bit cumbersome to do simple edits.

2. When emailing/texting there is no word completion. There are also very few words that it will auto-correct.

3. Copy (Cut) and Paste is a bit awkward. You also can't take a calendar entry and copy the whole entry to a new date. (Someone please tell me if you have figured it out).

4. The camera takes good pictures, but you can't change any features other than whether you want the flash on or off.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:08 AM
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Re: Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by K & M Computers in a different thread
As few of you might know, I work in tech support for Sprint. Today I got my training on the pre and got to spend about an hour playing with it. I must say, I am quite happy with it.

Things I liked
  • One thing I was surprised by was how small it was. Its roughly the size of the HTC Touch and slighly smaller than the Treo Pro.That being said, it fit my hand perfectly.
  • I liked how easy it was to launch applications. I loaded about 5 applications at once. They each took about 3 seconds to load(somewhat slower than other phones out there) but once they were loaded they worked flawlessly, since the pre uses a "card" feature for applications meaning each application is treated like a deck of cards that you can flip to it was easy to change between applications, a simple press of the button on the front of the phone and a flick left or right and it changed to the application.
  • Closing apps were even easier, slide your finger from the bottom up and discard the card.
  • I was also impressed with the 3 mega pixel camera included. It gave a nice full screen view when taking a picture. and it was easy to save on the phone.
  • I especially loved the web browser on it, I had 3 sites open at one time and loved the fact i could zoom in and out using 2 fingers. in a pinch motion open and closed.
  • I also loved the synergy concept(the phone incorporates all your contacts from facebook, gmail, aim, msn, yahoo, and other sources into one contact so that you can easily switch between methods of contact and keep it all organized) lets say you are talking to someone via aim, and they sign off, at that point you could continue your conversation with them by clicking the cell# next to the contact name and send them a text or email.
  • The app store was very easy to use, however at the moment the apps are somewhat limited. Rumor is there should be over a thousand in the next month or so. I have also heard there will not be an app that is over 5.00.

Things I didn't like:
Well there were only 3 things i did not like about the phone.
  • The slide for the qwerty keyboard was somewhat hard to open with one hand. I imagine over time it would open more easily as the spring is used and becomes less tight.
  • Where the bottom of the keyboard slides out(bottom of phone) the edge is sharper than I would prefer. I think rounding over that edge would have made it perfect, if you use the keyboard too much I could only imagine your fingers being rubbed a little raw.
  • No sd card slot. The phone has an onboard 8gig memory w/ aprox 7gigs available for the customer to use which acts as a usb mass storage. Me personally, I'd like to have the option to put a 16gb or larger card in it. Perhaps in future models they will add that functionality.
Thats all I have at the moment, As I get more time to play with it I might update some stuff on here.
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:59 AM
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Re: Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

Well, I found a non-working "demo" model at a local Wal-Mart tonight. My biggest concern about this phone was that the keyboard would suck. All the screenshots I had seen made the keyboard look like the Centro keyboards, which I really do not like at all.

I played with the keyboard for about 10 minutes and to my surprise I found it to be quite usable. The feel of the keys is a little weird... not necessarily bad, just different from most anything I have seen. They have a soft kind of, almost rubbery feel. Honestly, though... I think I could type pretty quickly on it.

I also found the phone to be not quite as small as it looks in the screenshots. I thought it might be a bit too small, but the size was really pleasant actually. I think the one I was playing with didn't have any actual stuff inside of it, so that made it feel a little light. I don't like the glossy finish, but I would be slapping a snap on case on it anyway so it doesn't really matter.

So... now to find an actual working model. I think I am getting baby steps closer to wanting one of these things.

*edit* What's the silver button on the face, btw? Is that like a "home" button, or "talk"?
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:16 AM
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Re: Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

The silver button currently does nothing but takes you from full view to card view.

This is rather annoying because that gives you THREE ways to do this:

1. Swipe up from the gesture area.
2. Swipe back on the gesture area on the lowest level of the app
3. Hit the center button

It also lights up when you do a successful gesture.

My *hope* for it in the future is that as they continue to develop for the WebOS the center button expands its use. I'd like to see the LED in it used as an LED notification. It'd be great if you could map a double press or a long press to it eventually. Or just being able to turn on the phone through pressing it. As of now though, it just gives you card view.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:57 AM
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Re: Official Palm Pre User Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
The silver button currently does nothing but takes you from full view to card view.
Thanks for the info.

Card view allows you to switch from app to app, like a task manager?

In the most common screenshot I have seen, the dialer looks really small. Is this card view, and it gets larger when you select it?

Sorry for the base questions, I have not been able to locate a working demo model.
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