Subject: Mobile | September 12, 2018 - 04:24 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: SoC, smartphone, mobile, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iphone, ios, apple, A12 Bionic, 7nm
Apple’s event today included expected (and previously leaked) iPhone announcements for the faster “S” variant of the iPhone X, as well as a new, larger iPhone XS Max, and finally the new, lower-cost iPhone XR. All three phones include Apple’s latest mobile processor, the A12 Bionic, as well as new cameras and other improvements.
The design is unchanged, but the 6.5-inch form-factor is new (image via Apple)
Beginning with the primary announcement, the new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone XS and XS Max phones both feature Super Retina OLED displays which Apple says now offer wider dynamic range, and the glass protecting them is “the most durable glass ever” in a smartphone. The new XS Max offers the same 458 ppi density as the iPhone XS with its 2688x1242 resolution (the iPhone XS has the same 2436x1125 resolution as the iPhone X), and both phones are now IP68 water and dust resistant and dual-SIM capable (using eSIM).
Apple says the A12 Bionic chip will be the first to market at 7nm (Hauwei's 7nm Kirin 980 was previously announced but not shipping until mid-October), and the move to this smaller process should allow for lower power consumption and increased performance.
The A12 Bionic has a 6-core CPU design as we saw with the A11, and uses the same Apple-designed Fusion architecture. Apple says its two performance cores are “up to 15% faster and 40% lower power”, and the four efficiency cores offer “up to 50% lower power” with no stated increase in performance. Other than stating that it is a proprietary design little was revealed about the GPU other than it is now a 4-core design, which Apple says is “50% faster” than before.
The camera system on the new phones offers a new “advanced bokeh” feature which allows for f-stop adjustment after the photo has been taken, and during the presentation this feature appears to work in a very realistic way comparable to dedicated lenses with a DSLR. Other features include improved speakers, stereo audio recording with video, and "Gigabit-class" LTE.
The iPhone XR is an LCD variant with lower cost (image via Apple)
The “one more thing” at the even was a new lower-cost iPhone based on the iPhone X design, but with an LCD display that Apple is calling “Liquid Retina”. This 6.1-inch device has a display resolution of 1792x828 (326 ppi), uses the new A12 chip, and while it is a single-camera phone like the iPhone 8 it uses the latest wide-angle camera from its “S” model siblings.
The display also features “120 Hz touch-sensing” - which may be independent of display refresh, but that is unknown at this point - a wide color gamut, and is a True Tone display like the iPhone X. The phone drops 3D Touch, using instead what appears to be a long-press detection with haptic feedback. The phone does not offer the "Gigabit-class LTE" of the XS/XS Max, is IP67 rather than IP68 water and dust resistant, but does retain the new “most durable glass” from the "S" models.
Pricing for the new lineup is as follows:
- iPhone XS 64GB - $999
- iPhone XS 256GB - $1149
- iPhone XS 512GB - $1349
- iPhone XS Max 64GB - $1099
- iPhone XS Max 256GB - $1249
- iPhone XS Max 512GB - $1449
- iPhone XR 64GB - $749
- iPhone XR 128GB - $799
- iPhone XR 256GB - $899
The new iPhones XS and XS Max will be available next week, with a September 21 launch day (pre-ordering begins on Friday, September 14). The iPhone XR launches on October 26 (pre-order October 19).
Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 9, 2018 - 04:50 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: p20 pro, Kirin 970, Kirin, Huawei
Last week the gang at Anandtech posted a story discovering systematic cheating by Huawei in smartphone benchmarks. In its story, AT focused on 3DMark and GFXBench, looking at how the Chinese-based silicon and phone provider was artificially increasing benchmark scores to gain an advantage in its battles with other smartphone providers and SoC vendors like Qualcomm.
As a result of that testing, UL Benchmarks (who acquired Futuremark) delisted several Huawei smartphones from 3DMark, taking the artificial scores down from the leaderboards. This puts the existing device reviews in question while also pulling a cloud over the recently announced (and impressive sounding) Kirin 980 SoC meant to battle with the Snapdragon 845 and next-gen Qualcomm product. The Kirin 980 will be the first shipping processor to integrate high performance Arm Cortex-A76 cores, so the need to cheat on performance claims is questionable.
Just a day after this story broke, UL and Huawei released a joint statement that is, quite honestly, laughable.
"In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.
To somehow assert that any kind of AI processing is happening on Huawei devices that is responsible for the performance differences that Anandtech measured is at best naïve and at worst straight out lying. This criticism is aimed at both Huawei and UL Benchmarks – I would assume that a company with as much experience in performance evaluation would not succumb to this kind of messaging.
After that AT story was posted, I started talking with the team that builds Geekbench, one of the most widely used and respected benchmarks for processors on mobile devices and PCs. It provides a valuable resource of comparative performance and leaderboards. As it turns out, Huawei devices are exhibiting the same cheating behavior in this benchmark.
Below I have compiled results from Geekbench that were run by developer John Poole on a Huawei P20 Pro device powered by the Kirin 970 SoC. (Private app results, public app results.) To be clear: the public version is the application package as downloaded from the Google Play Store while the private version is a custom build he created to test against this behavior. It uses absolutely identical workloads and only renames the package and does basic string replacement in the application.
Clearly the Huawei P20 Pro is increasing performance on the public version of the Geekbench test and not on the private version, despite using identical workloads on both. In the single threaded tests, the total score is 6.5% lower with the largest outlier being in the memory performance sub-score, where the true result is 14.3% slower than the inaccurate public version result. Raw integer performance drops by 3.7% and floating-point performance falls by 5.6%.
The multi-threaded score differences are much more substantial. Floating point performance drops by 26% in the private version of Geekbench, taking a significant hit that would no doubt affect its placement in the leaderboards and reviews of flagship Android smartphones.
Overall, the performance of the Huawei P20 Pro is 6.5% slower in single threaded testing and 16.7% slower in multi-threaded testing when the artificial score inflation in place within the Huawei customized OS is removed. Despite claims to the contrary, and that somehow an AI system is being used to recognize specific user scenarios and improve performance, this is another data point to prove that Huawei was hoping to pull one over on the media and consumers with invalid performance comparisons.
Some have asked me why this issue matters; if the hardware is clearly capable of performance like this, why should Huawei and HiSilicon not be able to present it that way? The higher performance results that 3DMark, GFXBench, and now Geekbench show are not indicative of the performance consumers get with their devices on real applications. The entire goal of benchmarks and reviews is to try to convey the experience a buyer would get for a smartphone, or anything else for that matter.
If Huawei wanted one of its devices to offer this level of performance in games and other applications, it could do so, but at the expense of other traits. Skin temperature, battery life, and device lifespan could all be impacted – something that would definitely affect the reviews and reception of a smartphone. Hence, the practice of cheating in an attempt to have the best of both.
The sad part about all of this is that Huawei’s flagship smartphones have been exceptional in nearly every way. Design, screen quality, camera integration, features; the Mate and P-series devices have been excellent representations of what an Android device can be. Unfortunately, for enthusiasts that follow the market, this situation will follow the company and cloud some of those positives.
Today’s data shows that the story of Huawei and benchmarks goes beyond just 3DMark and GFXBench. We will be watching this closely to see how Huawei responds and if any kinds of updates to existing hardware are distributed. And, as the release of Kirin 980 devices nears, you can be sure that testing and evaluation of these will get a more scrutinizing eye than ever.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 2, 2018 - 11:45 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: SoC, octa-core, mobile, Mali-G76, Kirin, Huawei, HiSilicon, gpu, cpu, Cortex-A76, arm, 8-core
Huawei has introduced their subsidiary HiSilicon’s newest mobile processor in the Kirin 980, which, along with Huawei's claim of the world's first commercial 7nm SoC, is the first SoC to use Arm Cortex A76 CPU cores and Arm’s Mali G76 GPU.
Huawei is aiming squarely at Qualcomm with this announcement, claiming better performance than a Snapdragon 845 during the presentation. One of its primary differences to the current Snapdragon is the composition of the Kirin 980’s eight CPU cores, notable as the usual 'big.LITTLE' Arm CPU core configuration for an octa-core design gives way to a revised organization with three groups, as illustrated by AnandTech here:
Of the four Cortex A76 cores just two are clocked up to maximize performance with certain applications such as gaming (and, likely, benchmarks) at 2.60 GHz, and the other two are used more generally as more efficient performance cores at 1.92 GHz. The remaining four A55 cores operate at 1.80 GHz, and are used for lower-performance tasks. A full breakdown of the CPU core configuration as well as slides from the event are available at AnandTech.
Huawei claims that the improved CPU in the Kirin 980 results in "75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation" (the Kirin 970). This claim translates into what Huawei claims to be 37% better performance and 32% greater efficiency than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.
The GPU also gets a much-needed lift this year from Arm's latest GPU, the Mali-G76, which features "new, wider execution engines with double the number of lanes" and "provides dramatic uplifts in both performance and efficiency for complex graphics and Machine Learning (ML) workloads", according to Arm.
Real-world testing with shipping handsets is needed to verify Huawei's performance claims, of course. In fact, the results shown by Huawei at the presentation carry a this disclaimer, sourced from today’s press release:
"The specifications of Kirin 980 does not represent the specifications of the phone using this chip. All data and benchmark results are based on internal testing. Results may vary in different environments."
The upcoming Mate 20 from Huawei will be powered by this new Kirin 980 - and could very well provide results consistent with the full potential of the new chip - and that is set for an official launch on October 16.
The full press release is available after the break.
Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2018 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: P65, msi, coffee lake h
If you spend more time being productive on your laptop than gaming, but still want to be able to spend a few hours playing then check out MSI's new P65 laptop. It is available in both silver and white, with both featuring an IPS panel with 100% Adobe RGB support to ensure the colours you see while designing will match when printed out.
The laptop is build for use on the road, weight 4.14" and 0.69 inches thick with an 82Whr battery MSI states will last for up to nine hours of regular use. The limited White Edition comes with Thunderbolt 3 and a GTX 1070 while the Silver offers USB 3.1 Gen 1 and either a GTX 1060 or 1050Ti so make sure to take a look quickly if you are on an upgrade path.
Berlin, Germany – August 31, 2018 – MSI, a world leader in high performance computing hardware, today announces its new notebook designed specifically for content creators and professionals, the P65. The P65 is a powerful system with a stylish design featuring high-end specs, beautiful thin-bezel display and long-lasting battery life. MSI will have the P65 on display at IFA 2018 at Booth number 107.
The P65 provides everything a content creator or business professional needs to work quickly and efficiently. Creators are constantly on the move and need to have desktop-grade power in a form factor they can easily carry around. With a potent processor and dedicated graphics, the P65 gives users more than enough power to edit raw HD or 4K video, create motion graphics and fly through complicated spreadsheets on the go. The P65 also features a full suite of ports including an SD card reader, USB Type-C, USB Type-A, HDMI, micro-DisplayPort and an ethernet jack. The P65 will be available this September.
The P65 was made to arm creators with the best creative tools. The 15-inch screen features MSI’s exclusive True Color 2.0 technology. Each panel is examined thoroughly and undergoes an extensive factory calibration process, so each color is displayed with absolute precision. This results in a near perfect color presentation, with close to 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color spectrum. The IPS-level, 4.9mm thin-bezel panel is ideal for those who need extreme color accuracy when editing photos or videos.
While the elegant new silver chassis separates the P65 from MSI’s traditional design, the high-performance specifications keep the P65 in close comparison with MSI’s top-of-the-line gaming offerings. The P65 features Intel’s latest 8th Generation Core i7 processor and up to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU. These specifications allow for faster rendering times and better multitasking. The P65 has up to almost three times more graphical performance than leading competitor in this category. The P65 uses MSI’s Cooler Boost Trinity, the same system found in its gaming laptops, to keep the notebook cool even during intense workloads.
“For a long time, MSI has just been recognized as a leader in PC gaming hardware,” said Sam Chern, MSI Assistant Vice President of Global Marketing. “With the P65, we’re investing deeply in professionals and content creators, bringing them high performance for all of their everyday tasks. We have taken the lessons we’ve learned from our years of experience in making gaming hardware and used it to create a beautiful, professional notebook that is more powerful than any laptop in its class.”
The P65 features top-of-the-line specifications while maintaining a slim, portable form factor. With its ultra-light aluminum chassis, the P65 weighs just 4.14 pounds and measures 0.69 inches thick. However, the slim design does not sacrifice battery life. The P65 has an 82Whr battery for up to nine hours of regular use. In addition to the productivity features, the P65 uses a Windows Hello Certified fingerprint sensor for a high-privacy business security solution and supports Microsoft’s Cortana voice-enabled digital assistant.
At launch, the P65 will be available in both silver and a gorgeous limited-edition white. The White Limited Edition shares many of the same specifications as the Silver Edition, but comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU, Hi-Res Audio and Thunderbolt 3. At launch, the Silver Edition will be available with either a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q or GTX 1050 Ti. The White Limited Edition also comes in a beautiful wooden box and includes an extended one-year warranty and protective laptop sleeve.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 29, 2018 - 02:19 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: xps 13 2-in-1, XPS 13, ifa 2018, i7-8500Y, i5-8200Y, dell, core m, amber lake
With a choice of either the Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y, the chassis design of the XPS 13 2-in-1 remains largely unchanged from when it's introduction in 2017. However, users should look forward to the increased performance and battery life from the new 8th generation Intel processors.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 will start shipping September 11th, starting at $999.99.
Dell also launched a slightly more inexpensive option for users looking at their standard XPS 13 notebook for users looking who aren't as performance conscious.
Featuring a dual-core Intel Core i3-8130U, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SATA SSD, and a 1080P display, this new XPS 13 configuration is now available for $899 from the Dell site and other retailers.
Finally, Dell announced that their popular Developer Edition XPS 13 is now shipping with the latest release of Ubuntu (18.04). As always, these Developer Editions come preconfigured with Ubuntu and all the necessary drivers out of the box and are less expensive than their Windows-toting counterparts.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | August 28, 2018 - 04:00 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: whiskey lake, mobile, Intel, ifa 2018, amber lake, 8th generation
Tonight at the consumer electronics trade show IFA in Berlin, Intel announced their latest processors aimed at thin-and-light notebooks and 2-in-1 devices. Continuing the ever elongated 8th generation processor family from Intel, these new mobile CPUs are comprised of both 5W (Amber Lake-Y) and 15W (Whiskey Lake-U) parts.
|Core i7-8565U||Core i7-8550U||Core i5-8265U||Core i5-8250U||Core i3-8145U|
|Architecture||Whiskey Lake||Kaby Lake Refresh||Whiskey Lake||Kaby Lake Refresh||Whiskey Lake|
|Base Clock||1.8 GHz||1.8 GHz||1.6 GHz||1.6 GHz||2.1 GHz|
|Max Turbo Clock||4.6 GHz||4.0 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.9 GHz|
Just as we saw with the Kaby Lake Refresh CPUs last year, these 15W parts maintain the same quad-core, eight-thread configurations.
On the highest end part, the i7-8565U, we see an increase of 600MHz on the max turbo clock, while the base clock remains the same. The i5-8265U sees a smaller uptick of 300MHz boost while also keeping the same base clock of 1.6GHz as the previous generation.
|Core i7-8500Y||Core i7-7Y75||Core i5-8200Y||Core i5-7Y75||Core m3-8100Y||Core m3-7Y32|
|Architecture||Amber Lake||Kaby Lake||Amber Lake||Kaby Lake||Amber Lake||Kaby Lake|
|Base Clock||1.5 GHz||1.3 GHz||1.4 GHz||1.2 GHz||2.1 GHz||1.1 GHz|
|Max Turbo Clock||4.2 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.3 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.0GHz|
As we can see, the Amber Lake CPUs provide a significant frequency advantage over the previous Kaby Lake-Y processors, especially with the turbo frequencies ranging from 600-900MHz improvements.
These higher frequencies give these low power processors a substantial performance uptick from the previous generation, as long as the thermal solutions in the end product notebooks are up to the task of actually achieving these high turbo boost frequencies.
Across the board, Intel is marketing these CPU platforms as having increased connectivity options, with built-in 802.11AC 160MHz dual-band Wi-Fi support (which Intel is referring to as Gigabit WiFi). Additionally, both the Amber Lake and Whiskey Lake families have options to be paired with Intel LTE modems for cellular connectivity.
Also on the connectivity side, we see support for native USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports through the chipset on Whiskey Lake-U.
Intel is also touting battery life improvements with "16 hours on a single charge with power-optimized systems targeted to achieve about 19 hours" on the Whiskey Lake-U platform. However, as always, take these specifications with a grain of salt until we see real products with these processors integrated into them and benchmarked.
Subject: Mobile | August 28, 2018 - 03:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Envy x360, Ryzen 5 2500U, hp
The Envy x360 13 which TechSpot got in for review costs a mere $700 and comes with a Ryzen 5 2500U, 8GB of RAM and 256GB with a 13.3" 1080p IPS touchscreen as well as a pen which is compatible with Windows 10 input and offers 1024 levels of pressure. For the creative types a higher end pen can be purchased with significantly more sensitivity. The body is all metal, with 15mm bezels and a 360 degree hinge for use as a tablet. Check out how it performs in their full review.
"Today we're finally looking at another Ryzen Mobile laptop, the second ever system we've had proper hands on time with. Despite a few difficulties finding these systems on the market, HP has pulled through with their brand new Envy x360 13-inch, and this - spoiler alert - is a fantastic system."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
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- MSI GE63 Raider RGB 8RE @ Kitguru
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 @ The Inquirer
- ASUS ROG Strix Scar II @ Kitguru
- Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review – Evolutionary or Revolutionary @ TechARP
- Galaxy Note 9 @ The Inquirer
Subject: Mobile | August 10, 2018 - 09:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X12 Modem, snapdragon 670, snapdragon, qualcomm 600, qualcomm, LTE
Qualcomm recently introduced the Snapdragon 670 mobile platform that brings upgraded processing and power efficiencies to the 600-series lineup while being very close to the specifications of the new Snapdragon 710 SoC. Based on the 10nm LPP design, the Snapdragon 670 uses up to 30% less power (that number is while recording 4K video and relates to the Spectra ISP, overall power efficiency gains are likely less but still notable) while offering up to 15% more CPU and 25% more GPU processing power versus its predecessor. The new mobile processor is also better optimized for AI with up to 1.8X AI Engine performance mostly thanks to upgraded Hexagon DSP co-processors and ARM CPU cores.
The Snapdragon 670 features a Kryo 360 CPU with two ARM Cortex A75 cores at 2.0 GHz and six Cortex A53 cores at 1.7 GHz along with bringing 200-series DSPs and ISPs to the Snapdragon 600-series in the form of the Hexagon 685 DSP and Spectra 250 ISP. As far as graphics, the Snapdragon 670 will use a new Adreno 615 GPU which should be very close to the GPU in the SD710 (Adreno 616. The new processor supports a single 24MP camera or dual 16MP cameras and can record up to 4k30Hz video. According to Anandtech, Qualcomm has stripped out the 10-bit HDR pipelines as well as lowering the maximum supported display resolution. Another differentiator between the new Snapdragon 710 and the older Snapdragon 660 is that the SD670 uses the same Snapdragon X12 LTE modem as the SD660 rather than the X15 LTE modem of the 710 processor meaning that maximum cellular download speeds are capped at 600 Mbps downloads versus 800 Mbps.
While the Snapdragon 670 and Snapdragon 710 are reportedly pin and software compatible which will allow smartphone manufacturers the ability to use either chip in the same mobile platform the chips are allegedly different designs and the SD670 is not merely a lower binned SD710 which is interesting if true.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 appears to be a decent midrange offering that is very close to the specifications of the SD710 while being cheaper and much more power efficient than the older SD660. This should enable some midrange smartphone designs that can offer similar performance with much better battery life.
Of course, depending on the workload, the newer SD670 may or may not live up to the alleged 15% CPU performance boost versus 2017’s SD660 as the SD670 loses two of the big ARM cores in the big.LITTLE setup vs the SD660 while having two more smaller cores. The two A75 (2GHz) and six A55 (1.7GHz) are faster per core than the four A73 (2.2GHz) and four A53 (1.8GHz), but if a single app is heavily multithreaded the older chip may still hold its own. The bright side is that worst case the new chip should at least not be that much slower at most tasks and at best it delivers better battery life especially with lots of background tasks running. More efficient cores and the move from 14nm LPP to 10nm LPP definitely helps with that, and you do have to keep in mind that this is a midrange part for midrange smartphones.
The real deciding factor though in terms of the value proposition of this chip is certainly going to be pricing and the mobile platforms that manufacturers offer it in.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 Specifications
- Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms
- Google, Qualcomm Partner for Faster Android P Upgrade Adoption
Subject: Mobile | August 9, 2018 - 12:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming laptop, razer blade
The most noticeable change on this years version of the Razer Blade is the bezel on the 15.6" IPS display, which is looking rather svelte. The display is powered by a GTX 1070 Max-Q and is available in several varieties, a 1080p model with a 144Hz refresh rate or a 4K 60Hz option along with a less expensive 1080p 60Hz if that fits your budget better. The remainder of the internals of the model which TechSpot reviewed were a Core i7-8750H, 16GB of DDR4-2666 and a 512GB Samsung PM981 NVMe SSD. What do you get for your $2400?
"One of the most popular gaming laptops on the market continues to be the Razer Blade. New for 2018, Razer has refined the design and improved the internal hardware to make it even better than before. With the 2018 Blade, Razer is fully on board with the thin bezel revolution."
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- PC Specialist Recoil II @ Kitguru
- 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro review: Better, faster, stronger, throttle-ier? @ Ars Technica
- Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 @ Techspot
- Garmin Fenix 5S Plus review: So capable, so enviable, so expensive @ Ars Technica
- Honor Play In-Depth Review - Mobile Gaming FTW! @ TechARP
- Galaxy Tab S4 review: Even Samsung’s Dex desktop can’t save Android tablets @ Ars Technica
- The Best Smartphones 2018 @ TechSpot
- ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 @ TechARP
The Story Begins
In the automotive world, there is the idea of a sleeper car. Sleepers are high-performance cars in mundane, dull shells. This performance can come from a variety of different areas; it might be a high-performance trim level of a vehicle that most people associate to be cheap or slow, from modifications, or even entire drivetrain swaps.
The enthusiast PC building world also has their equivalent sleepers. In general, these sorts of project swap new, high-performance hardware into chassis from vintage desktop computers, this build from Linus Tech Tips springs to mind as a standout option.
One area that largely gets left behind in the PC hardware modification world is notebooks. Generally, notebooks don’t use standard components, making it virtually impossible to do something like swap newer hardware into an existing notebook chassis.
What we are taking a look at today, however, defies all common knowledge of the PC world. Through the work of some intrepid modders, I am now the proud owner of a 2010-vintage Lenovo ThinkPad X201 with a modern, 8th generation quad-core mobile processor, NVMe SSD, and 32GB of DDR4 memory in it.