Over the years, our usage of and dependence on smartphones has increased multifold. Our smartphones are smarter, faster, and more capable than ever, data is cheaper, and we can charge our smartphone batteries much quicker than ever. However, when cabin fever hit most of us in 2020, smartphones became more than just objects of use — they became reliable aides. As the world remained locked up, smartphones were the only means of communication for a large number of people. We used and overused our smartphones way too much this year. And, it is likely that you got to enjoy and appreciate certain features on your smartphone more than ever, while growing to despise some others. So, which was your favorite feature on your smartphone that helped you the most in 2020? Comment below!
Video calling became an effective way to replace physical meetings in 2020. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams became some of the most actively used terms in the year. Besides professionals, video calling also became a vital tool for educators as students around the world attended — perhaps for the first time — classes virtually from their homes. At the same time, COVID-19 contact tracing became a pivotal tool in tracing potential infections.
Despite the pandemic, Android 11 was released on time and it brought a long list of new features such as new controls from smart devices and media. While most of the changes happened under the hood with new APIs, Android 11 also brought people-first changes including conversation bubbles and screen recording.
At the same time, we also saw a major transformation in custom Android skins used by different OEMs. Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 received an overhauled control center and better privacy controls. OnePlus’ OxygenOS 11 received a major uplift and adopted a design similar to Samsung’s One UI, while One UI 3.0 itself improved in terms of both — aesthetics and functionality. OPPO’s ColorOS 11 and Huawei’s EMUI 11 also received major visual overhauling while Vivo announced OriginOS, which brings major cosmetic distinction over their existing Funtouch OS. Besides visuals, privacy was a major focus for most of the smartphone manufacturers.
Apple also released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 for its mobile devices, finally bring support for widgets and an app drawer (sort of). Some of these were our favorite features as they were ever better than on Android — especially the widgets — and we wished that Google should adopt these iOS features for Android.
I personally found myself getting overwhelmed with my smartphone usage at the onset of the stay-at-home period and found myself recapturing my sanity with Android’s Focus Mode. I especially enjoyed using OnePlus’ spin on it, called Work-Life Balance mode, which allowed me to assign different apps for my personal and professional usage and let me mute the other category when I was either at work or away from it.
Which smartphone features — whether hardware or software — did you enjoy the most in 2020? Let us know about your favorite in the comments below.
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