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Are you OK with the lack of memory expansion slot trend of flagship phones?

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Are you OK with the lack of memory expansion slot trend of flagship phones?
Apple has been doing it for a while now with its iPhone editions, but recently most major phone manufacturers outed or will have flagship models without microSD card slots.

In the slideshow below we have listed some major handsets that force you to make do without more memory than their makers supplied internally, and upon making it we realized that this is getting epidemic now.

That is why we wanted to ask if you approve this obvious trend, and to what extent the good ol' memory card can be swapped for the newly-minted cloud storage services most major smartphone manufacturers are now trying to make us stomach. 

Is it all an evil plot to make us sign up for cloud storage and tied up even further in the respective mobile ecosystem, so that we never leave, or is it just for cost-cutting/space saving reasons? Fill in our poll below and sound off your arguments in the comment section.

Phonearena polls
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Are you OK with the lack of memory expansion slot trend of flagship phones?
25.85%
420 votes
(420 votes) No biggie, 16/32GB locally are more than enough for me
6.03%
98 votes
(98 votes) With the new cloud storage services, the lack of memory card slot is irrelevant
25.97%
422 votes
(422 votes) I'm a digital hoarder, so I need all the space I can get, both online and offline
42.15%
685 votes
(685 votes) I'll never buy a phone without memory card slot, more so since I don't use the cloud for privacy reasons

1625 votes


65 Comments
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posted on 28 Mar 2012, 07:53 3

1. LahiruRD (Posts: 8; Member since: 24 Mar 2012)


Sony also offers 50GB Cloud storage via BOX :)

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:08 1

8. Daniel.P (Posts: 99; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)


Is this still working? It was supposed to be a one-time promo by the end of December...

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:10 2

10. the_s2 (Posts: 206; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Yeah it still works!

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:19 1

14. Daniel.P (Posts: 99; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)


Thx, added.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:35 1

29. Aaron_R96 (Posts: 198; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)


Oh? Is this available on the Tablet S and Xperia S? If so, how do I get it? Thanks!

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:41 1

39. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Download the Box application then register and you will get the free 50 GB :)

I think it only works with the Xperia phones though, but I am not sure.

I have a SEX Arc and Sony Tablet S and I just use the account I made on my Arc.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 12:19

42. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


it works with my Desire S.. i think it's for all android, but for a limited time.. idk about SE or Sony, though.. they may have it continually..

So, if i get the One X, i will have 32 GB onboard, 25 GB dropbox, 50 GB Box.. So, yeah, 107GB.. more than enough.. too much, probably, for me..

i don't think i will ever use up the 32 GB onboard, let alone the cloud storage.. and if Google Drive really kicks off, i don't know how many more GB it will have in total..

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 22:53 1

60. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


Not really...the 50GB offer for all Android finished on March 23Rd

Sorry mate :/

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 07:58 4

2. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


There's a huge difference between 16 and 32 gigabytes...

16 for me is not enough at all where as 32 is more than I need.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 07:58 8

3. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


SD cards is important to me for file transferring concers. I don't wanna bring my USB cable always. lol

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:57 2

34. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)


yup thats also my main issue.. i like to be able to just put the sd card in the computer and goo .. its great cuz i can do it in any computer

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 07:58 6

4. andro. (Posts: 1947; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


I personally wouldn't use cloud storage but we have seen instore alarming data limit usage rises and battery drainage from people using cloud storage,especially the icloud for instance as most people have it turned on and not know its running

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 12:23 1

43. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


yeah, i think the problem with cloud is that it uses up too much data, especially if you turn on the instant upload, and it's quite slow and expensive if you are using Network Data..

So it's better if storage providers start to tell users their options and how to manage the storage so as to reduce battery and data drain..

i personally only sync when there is wifi available.. and that's usually when i am home, so charging port is always available too.. i save up my data only to download important stuff on the go..

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:01 13

5. the_s2 (Posts: 206; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I'll never buy a phone without memory card slot, more so since I don't use the cloud for privacy reasons.

SD cards shouldnt be killed. There's nothing more reliable than physical storage.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:03 12

6. android_hitman (Posts: 594; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


i like SD cards, i don't want to be limited.. + i don't like cloud storage

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:33 8

19. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4003; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Me too, if your stuff is in the cloud, it's really not yours. You are at the mercy of the cloud. So if the cloud ever goes down, all your pics, music, books & everything else is lost. You essentially would be sh*t out of luck!

MicroSD cards are coming down in prices daily, & 32GB MicroSD cards are now fairly priced (there are great deals out there if you look online) There are now 64GB cards available also. Still expensive but they are out there.

I am 100% with android_hitman "i like SD cards, i don't want to be limited.. + i don't like cloud storage".

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:41 4

31. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 293; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


Another problem is when you can access the cloud you're at the mercy of the data caps imposed by your carrier. Public Wifi, when available, isn't always the best idea as far as security goes.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:04 4

35. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4003; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


You are right, there are so many reasons why the cloud is really not that great of an option. I was going to list those also but then it would have become an essay! lol

+1 for you!

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:03 5

7. ajac09 (Posts: 1367; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


hell no I have a 32gig card I dont want to just throw away

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:10 8

9. PAPINYC (Posts: 2278; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


I would never buy a smartphone without memory expansion both because I am a memory hoarder and I would not use Cloud Storage for privacy concerns; I would also never want to be at the mercy of ever-changing policies of Cloud Storage guidelines and rules.

If I wanted a phone with liMiTations, iWould have bought an iPhone a long time ago.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 12:00

41. bucky (Posts: 1393; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


or half of the new android phones coming out nowadays. difference is apple seems to make it a bit easier to access that storage and offers a 64gb model.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:12 3

11. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


No, the lack of memory card slot is the main reason I will never buy an iPhone and also the reason I didn't buy the GNex. Buying a SD card is cheaper than buying the phone with more onboard storage. I don't like to rely on network based storage like iCloud or some s**t like that, makes my phone useless when I'm disconnected

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 14:56 1

51. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


This is crazy, my dream phone HTC One X, I will have to past, because one big reason I never bought an iPhone is because it has no removable battery an expansion slot. Even though I have everything MAC, but I'm a Fandroid. However if this is a trend and I see nothing compatible to the Google Nexus or HTC One X, I will gladly jump onto the iPhone s**tty bandwagon if this is the way it's gonna be. This SUCKS BIG TIME!!!!

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:16 2

12. bigdawg23 (Posts: 366; Member since: 25 May 2011)


I owned a iPhone for a short time and that was my biggest issue, no sd slot. I had to pull content off my 16GB phone all the time. I had no interest paying the increased price tag for just storage. Now with my Vivid, I will be getting a 32GB card. My job requires a lot of picture taking so it fills up a lot of my space

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:16 2

13. rg987 (Posts: 130; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


to buy a phone with no sd card, for me its NAY AND NEVER

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:26 2

15. ryq24 (Posts: 488; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


what happen when the phone goes crazy. cloud is still new and unproven. i prefer a phone with sd card. damn you apple for staring this trend! :-)

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:30

18. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


cloud does OK for me, I have 50GB on drop box and 50 on Box for my stuff, and my music is on Google Music, and my Pictures on + I can schedule backups of all my apps to the cloud overnight in case of a loss. quite nice

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 15:02

52. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


I look at it this why, if these company wanna follow crapy iPhone trend, Oh I will to do this, but because I own every MAC except an iPhone. I'm all android, however if this crap is a trend, I am going to jump onto the iPhone crap bandwagon. I'm sure I'm will not be the only one.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:26

16. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Thanks to cloud Im fine, but I would like an SD on a new phone, but if its getting removed, I hope is for the better

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:13 2

28. PAPINYC (Posts: 2278; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


A feature 'getting removed' is never for the better.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:38 1

30. -box- (Posts: 3786; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Unless it's an Apple product.... Antennagate was a "feature" after all

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:05 1

36. PAPINYC (Posts: 2278; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


That's different since, they're used to having the few features they have removed all the time anyway.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 12:32

44. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


i still prefer SD, but if that's not available, at least give bigger storage, like 32GB or bigger..

i don't mind cloud.. have been using it for a few months without any major problem.. you have to be selective and smart when you are using cloud.. i upload important stuff over home wifi, and pull down stuff that i need on the go.. but i still keep my music onboard..

i don't know how proven it is, but there are a few recent studies that says external storage is the cause of lags and sluggishness among phones nowadays.. so maybe that's the reason.. but i could sacrifice some performance, though.. but in this case, i don't mind if there is no expansion storage as long as the onboard is large enough..

i have yet to use up my 8GB if i don't have any 3D games installed, which i seldom play (only once a month, and uninstalled once i finish the game in about a few days)..

i go with the first option.. 16GB is enough, 32 is safer for me..
but it's a different story with tablet.. i HAVE to have an SD card..

btw, i have 12GB data with $30(singapore) cap if i exceed that capacity.. so it's like an unlimited, that's why i don't really have problem with cloud..

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:29 3

17. Fallout09 (Posts: 416; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


My office is in a black hole..... Cloud is not a option for me seeing that I get no cell phone reception where I work. SD storage all the way for me.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:38 2

20. superguy (Posts: 271; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


Cloud storage only works with unlimited data. 2-3GB caps on data mean you can run out data just accessing your stuff. Leaves much less data for other activities like surfing, streaming, etc. I'd be a lot more open to cloud storage if there were truly unlimited data offered.

I have it now on Verizon, but honestly, I don't expect it to last forever. I expect Verizon will eventually pull an AT&T screw job and try to nudge us off of it.

SD is trivial now. I'd rather pay an extra $5-10 and have the slot on the phone even if I have to buy the memory later than not have it. You don't have to use it if it's there. You can't ever if it's not.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:38 1

21. qwayke2000 (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I'll never buy a phone without memory card slot, but it's good that phone has interial storage atleast 2GB that I can download all apps to phone and keep my music, pictures and videos in SD. But also 16GB and 32GB phones are more than enough to me. Cloud protocol is not new to me but i look that it's not best choice for me...

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 08:43 2

22. Firedrops (Posts: 215; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


I think the combination of both the strong promotion of free high-storage cloud services(e.g. Sony) and the increasingly larger local storage makes this a non-issue for me. My external micro SD is only 4GB, though it feels rather cramped, 32gb is a far cry larger so there's no complaints from me.
However I do agree that microSD card slots should be kept available, people would rather have a phone 1-2mm thicker than the thinnest, and be able to swiftly transfer data between 2 electronic devices either one of which without WLAN, than have a thinner phone but lose that choice to transfer to external storage on the go.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 09:02 2

23. shandesilva (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


actually i believe smartphones should have 2 micro sd slots. one for the normal use. one to easily exchange data between the phone and other devices.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 09:11 2

24. hunted (Posts: 325; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


I'll not buy a phone without a memory card slot because it might slow down our performance because of dumping the internal memory. Also if any virues attacks your phone & we haven't taken any backups, then everything will be gone. SD cards are always advantage for smartphone.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 09:13 1

25. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 801; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I'm ok with the 16gig to 32gig internals solely for apps and such, but still I need the SD card expansion for my media files (videos, mp3's & photos).

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 09:16

26. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I would prefer an SD card but if i'm sacrificing it for a slimmer phone i'm all about it.

It's a convenience factor for me... I like having it but don't mind using cloud storage. Plus using something like dropbox to transfer files from my Nexus to my girlfriends' is even easier than if I did it via card like "the old days" ;)

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 09:41 1

27. hepresearch (unregistered)


I've always preferred physical storage, and microSD has always been an efficient, convenient, and reliable form of it. I do not yet trust "cloud services" all that much, even avoid them for privacy reasons... however, larger internal memory in phones seems sufficient as long as I can PC-sync via Bluetooth, so I am not totally dead-set on having microSD cards. If I could have voted half for the first option, and half for the fourth option, I would have.

4 GB is large enough to hold everything I have ever done electronically, and I would never put all of that on my phone at once, so 4 GB of internal user-available memory would satisfy all of my needs right now, and 8 GB of internal memory would leave lots of breathing room. So, technically speaking, the Nokia Lumia phones OR any iPhone already have enough internel memory to satisfy my needs without prematurely sending me to "the cloud". Many lesser Android models also now boast modest internal memory in addition to the microSD slot, and as I am not likely to go for something with absolutely stellar hardware (but not total junk hardware, either), this means I have LOTS of options that won't cost me an arm-and-a-leg...

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:44 1

32. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the phone would have to be completely amazing and have ample storage to get me to give up my slot. I back up tons of stuff through Google like music and pictures so I'm not adverse to the cloud.. but that's because I'm on a true unlimited employee account. if I wasn't I wouldn't use it so much since my monthly data Is normally like 5 to 15 gigs with all of the syncing and other Things.
I need space!

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 10:46

33. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)


I think it'll be acceptable as long as the device has 32GB internally, it'd be nice to have SD card expansion tho.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:22 2

37. jabberwocky (Posts: 89; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


Data prices will have to come WAY WAY down before I will rely on cloud storage for all my data. I stream music occasionally, but anyone who travels or ventures into areas with limited coverage knows that cloud solutions have more drawbacks than just privacy.

I am not going to pay a manufacturer $200 for more storage in a phone when I can buy a Class 10 32GB stick for less than $100. Phone manufacturers charge way, way too much to build in bigger storage.

And I don't buy the argument that adding expansion slots makes the devices thicker. MicroSD cards are tiny, and phones are nowhere near the thickness of the card + slot. Processors, screens and batteries determine the thickness of the device, not adding a tiny hole for MicroSD.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:47 1

40. hepresearch (unregistered)


Then the question becomes, "Why are they pushing to do away with microSD? Why are they trying to drive us to 'the cloud'?"

Costly rationed data and internet access, no privacy from corporate or government oversight and micro-management, no rights to private hard-copy storage of digital media... I can see a lot of reasons why this is useful and beneficial to certain interest groups at the expense of the average person like me, and I doubt that I can do anything about it at this point. The mobile-consumer world is heading this way at full speed, and if I don't give in I know that I will eventually be left behind as it gets more difficult to repair or replace my older devices and software, and as cloud media becomes transfer-incompatible with older storage methods like microSD and DVD-R. If your post-PC device of the future cannot accept physical media because it is totally "cloud integrated", essentially a "cloud terminal" if you will, then your stored data on microSD, DVD-R, or whatever, is now totally obselete and useless, and that idea is not pleasant to me.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 15:13 1

53. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


I agree, however for me the main reason I never got an iPhone, but own everything Mac, so if this is a trend, Oh well I'm sure I'm not the only one to just to with the originator of this trend. I'm jumping onto the iPhone unfortunately. If they gonna force me to pick, oh well Android will lose. Keep the removable battery and expansion slot, I will be a Fandroid for ever.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 12:40

64. jabberwocky (Posts: 89; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


I think I see where you're going with this, but I think there is probably a simpler explanation.

It could simply be that design and production costs to include a MicroSD slot may vary due to market pressures, sometimes making it more economical to include expansion, and other times to simply build in larger storage. Those changes coupled with their perceived market value (big built-in storage with more expensive phone vs. expandability and possibly a cheaper phone) could easily cause manufacturers to come out differently on these decisions on different devices aimed at different markets.

Anyway, I do think 16GB should be the minimum for phones now, and I strongly prefer the option to expand it.

And again I would reiterate that device thickness is not related to MicroSD slots. Look at the Motorola Droid RAZR (thinnest phone on the market!). Is that fat bulge for a MicroSD slot or microUSB slot? No, it's the camera. On the MAXX, it's the battery.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 14:35 1

48. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


I completely agree, I'm a Mac user, but a andriod i hate the iPhone because no removable battery or expansion slot. However if this is going to be a trend, I'm jumping too the iPhone bandwagon. I been waiting for the HTC one x, and just discover the lack of expansion slot and removable battery. Sorry I will past.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 14:46 1

49. Sniggly (Posts: 6996; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Wait, you have to like Android better than the iPhone for more reasons than expandable memory and removable batteries. And if so, why ignore those other reasons and abandon Android?

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 15:16

54. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Nope only reason I LOVE android is the great phones that have removable battery and expansion slot. Don't for get I am a Mac user, so if I'm force then the Mac Eco system for me. I really don't want to do it, but if I had to pick with all those non removable and no expansion slot phone. Then iPhone it will be.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 12:28

63. jabberwocky (Posts: 89; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


Just a few questions for phoenixpr since his position is not clear to me from the 11 identical posts he has left on this article:

What kind of OS do you use on your home computers?

What are your 2 favorite android features that are not really android features (although they are found on many Android, Blackberry and Symbian phones), but makes you a diehard "Fandroid"?

Also, if you can't find an android flagship device with removeable storage and battery, what phone do you think you might buy? Do you have any idea?

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 14:13

65. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


I've been a MAC user since 1985, I hate the iPhone only because no removable battery, no expansion slots. That is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Android, I was looking forward to getting the Google Nex, but same crap, like the iPhone, Then I wanted the HTC One X, OK once again same iPhone crap. So if these are my only option, Then iPhone it is, I love Apple ecosystem, but hate the lack of the above mention. I posted many time because I needed to get the word out loud and clear. People need to know that Android is BECOMING iCrap iPhone.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 11:39 2

38. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


ima data whore, i can't live w/o my sd slot. i have around 5gbs of music, 5gb of hd video which isn't much, 500 pictures, and i like to download movies and tons of apps so yes i NEED my sd

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 12:44 2

45. cvdvds (Posts: 6; Member since: 25 Mar 2012)


My answer isn't there. I simply don't want to use the cloud, because my upload speed is very bad. I don't want to spend 5 hours trying to upload something there. And spend another 30 minutes trying to download it again. mSD is a must for me, since the upload speeds are so bad here.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 13:39 1

46. Sniggly (Posts: 6996; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Considering an Android phone that advertises 16 gigs of internal storage really only has 8 gigs of media/general storage after the OS and app storage is done with it, and an SD card seems to be necessary for flashing ROMS post root (ICS is awesome on my Atrix) I have to go for a phone with an SD card slot at least.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 20:00 1

57. hepresearch (unregistered)


If they take away the ability to flash the ROM via microSD, and cause us to rely on "the cloud" for everything, then what point will there be to rooting a phone? Absolutely none. The ability to do such things will evaporate, and the industry will have stripped away the capacity of an entire segment of power users, not to mention losing credibility as having real open-source mobile solutions for many enterprising folks.

The time has already arrived when the best and brightest phones are now without this ability. I fear the time may soon come when there is no longer a microSD option with any phone.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 20:34

58. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


uhh.. you just put it on the internal SD card. Also, you can connect USB to the computer to transfer files from within clockwork mod if you delete everything. Nothing changes at all.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 22:13 1

59. hepresearch (unregistered)


Wait a minute... how can you delete everything BEFORE you connect the USB?!? Back in the day, when I was using PheonixROM to flash various Symbian and S40 phones, if somebody gave me a phone that had already suffered an unintentional ROM wipe, I could never get the thing to even post on USB... if somebody intentionally did the same thing by only going half-way through a ROM flash, then came to me to see if I could "finish it" for them, it was still just as cooked...

Granted, I have never had to root and flash an Android device before... I have a friend who rooted and flashed his brand-new unlocked HTC Inspire 4G with CyanogenMOD 7.0, but I only got to see the results after-the-fact... but I have always found that a USB ROM flash is asking for trouble. There are an awful lot of things that can interrupt the process prematurely, and a lot of things that can go wrong... I have done a number of successful ROM flash attempts via USB, but there were still some failures. It is already risky business, and even riskier when you rely on a USB connection. ROM flash via microSD is, in my experience, a safer bet to avoid unintentional bricking of the device. Thus, I would probably be a lot less inclined to try rooting, then flashing, an Android phone without a microSD slot.

posted on 28 Mar 2012, 14:29 1

47. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Sorry I will past, no expansion slot or removable battery, reasons why i hate the iphone, I own a Mac, but I'm a android fan boy, but if this is a trend on all the new andriod phone. I'm jumping on the iPone bandwagon for the 1 time in my life.

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