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Top 10 Features of Android 11

Staff Writer / 26-10-2020 / Tech news android

Fact: Android powered smartphones are the most popular mobile devices in the world, including here in South Africa. So, if you’ve recently updated your software to the latest Android 11, here’s the top 10 features you need to know about:

1. Your conversations, categorised

Android 11 brings more control over your chat notifications by storing all your messages in its own category known as Conversations Alerting. You can also prioritise certain conversations over ones that are less important to you, making sure you never miss anything urgent.

2. Bring on the bubbles

Chat heads are popular on platforms such as Facebook Messenger, but now Google has taken this idea to Android 11 and integrated it into a new update known as Bubbles. This enables your messages to float around your screen for quick and easy access. You can even place these messages anywhere on your screen or delete them by pulling it down.

3. A new recording ability

Before, recording your phone's screen meant downloading a third-party app. But now Android 11 has its own native screen recorder with audio that can be recorded via the microphone or through an audio device.

4. Music Player has its own home

When playing music, the Music Player now has its own designated place in the Quick Settings menu. This means it is no longer part of the notifications bar. You even have the option to choose a specific device to play music from, such as your Bluetooth speakers or earbuds.

5. A win for privacy

Google has clamped down on privacy and security, giving users more control over one-time permissions. You can now grant apps permission for the session in use and once the app is closed, Android will revoke that permission. If an app is inactive for a while, permissions can get automatically revoked.

6. Forget me not notifications

Mistakenly swiping away notifications happens to the best of us, and often, it’s not a onetime occurrence. Now, saying goodbye to notifications before even seeing them is a thing of the past. Android 11 allows you to save all your notifications over the past 24 hours. A running list will help you find a notification you lost, making sure you never lose it again.

7. Do as I say

Voice Access on Android 11 comes with a better understanding of your commands and the context around it. Using the power of Google Assistant, all you have to do is say the action you want done and your phone will understand and do it for you.

8. More power to the Power Menu

The Power Menu has received a major tech upgrade. You can control various smart home devices without having to open an app, such as turning lights on and off and checking security cameras.

9. Your Android has your back

If you have a Pixel device, Google AI will choose the top five suggested apps it thinks should be in your dock based on your workflow, location and surroundings. This list generates the most relevant apps just before you need it.

10. Come over to the dark side

Although the native dark theme mode was introduced in Android 10, it was nonintuitive. Now, with Android 11, you can schedule the dark theme according to a time that suits you, or, you can choose to never switch it off since it comes with battery saving superpowers.


Bits and Bytes – July 2021 Edition

Size Matters on TikTok TikTok will soon be expanding the length of its videos to three times its existing limit. The video-sharing social network has upped the one-minute video limit and will now allow all users to create and publish videos up to three minutes long, to provide more flexibility for content creators. The S21 Ultra 5G Is Galaxies Ahead The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, recently won the best smartphone award the at Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona. The smartphone launched in January this year and came out on top despite facing some tough competition – including the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the OnePlus 9 Pro and sister device, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Real-Time Translation in Zoom’s Future? Zoom wants to speak your language. The video conferencing app plans on joining forces with Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions (Kites), the creators of a real-time translation and transcription software. The acquisition would change the face of video conferencing, opening the door to more communication possibilities between speakers of different languages. LG Changing Track LG is shifting its focus from mobile phones to high-powered trains. The South Korean company has created a 55-inch transparent OLED panel with a 40 percent transparency rate which has been designed to replace standard train windows in the near future. These panels are able to serve as both a medium of content display and an additional safety measure thanks to its specialised tempered glass which absorbs vibrations better than typical materials. Smile, You’re on Canon Camera Canon China has taken an unusual route to ensure the happiness of its staff. Employees can now only enter the offices on one condition – they have to smile. The AI system was created by the company and forces staff to show off their pearly whites in order to be admitted into the building. The initiative is aimed at creating happier, more productive Canon employees.


Bits and Bytes – June 2021 Edition

Lego Inspired Smartphone has Entered the Chat Building your own, customisable phone may no longer be just a fantasy. Xiaomi has requested a patent for the Lego Smartphone, a three-piece device each housing a different smartphone aspect – camera plus PCB, battery and speaker / USB function. While not a new concept, the Chinese electronics company could be the first to execute the idea to its full potential and give smartphone users the capability to modify parts of their device as and when they choose. Huawei – The Right Time for A New Smartwatch? The tech giant plans on releasing a smartwatch range without Android in June. Since Google cut ties with the company, the Huawei Watch 3 and the Huawei Watch 3 Pro will be the first to run on the company’s own operating system – the HarmonyOS. Only time will tell if the new system will meet consumer expectations. A WhatsApp Mixed Bag WhatsApp recently announced it would no longer hinder users who did not accept its updated privacy policy which came into play on 15 May. In the lead up to the change, WhatsApp faced worldwide backlash – including from South Africa’s Information Regulator which suggested it would pursue legal action of over the inconsistent terms and conditions of the policy and wrote to the mobile messaging app requesting a revision. The heat is still on the Facebook-owned app in various countries but earlier this month, WhatsApp released some happier news. Soon users will be able to operate on four devices using a single account. This is just one among a host of other upgrades promised by Facebook head himself, Mark Zuckerberg. Other promised upgrades include the “view once” feature, allowing users to share images and videos with their contacts that will disappear after only one viewing. A Good Dose of Horror Boosting tourism and immune systems go hand-in-hand in Transylvania – the birthplace of the vampire. Bran Castle, the inspiration behind author Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, opened its doors to tourists in search of a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Tourists were given the shots for free and later gained free entry into the museum's “Medieval Torture Instruments” exhibit where they were encouraged to check out “jabs of a different kind”.


The Hisense Infinity H50 Lite – Loaded Performance

The Hisense Infinity H50 range hit South African shores in April and has been making waves ever since. The latest edition is the Infinity H50 Lite. This device is the smallest in the series – the H50 and H50 Zoom being its predecessors – but it remains big on providing superior performance and style. Under the Hood The Infinity H50 Lite holds its own against other Android devices in its price range. The smartphone is powered by an Octa-core engine with a MediaTek chipset, a Helio P70 CPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB of built-in storage capacity – all factors that increase the phone’s smooth operational aspects. The device comes loaded with Android 10 straight out the box. Screen and Body With a 6.55” HD+ O-Infinity display, this smartphone is proudly 84% screen – a major plus for anyone who wants a phone that doubles as a video streaming and gaming device. The H50 Lite fits comfortably in hand and the design is not at all hampered by the largely plastic body and frame. The glass front adds a sleek touch and the iridescent colour options, including a deep green and blue which enhance the high-end feel of the smartphone. The speaker is located at the base of the phone and comes equipped with a nifty noise cancellation feature. Camera Quad camera capabilities are the norm right now and the H50 Lite is no exception. The phone boasts a 2 MP macro lens, a 2 MP depth camera, 5 MP wide-angle camera and 48 MP HD main camera that come together beautifully to create clear and colour-intense images. The bokeh effect is also active here, ensuring faces and people really stand out in a pic. The 16 MP front-facing camera’s beauty mode ensures the perfect selfie every time by reading and adjusting to the environment. Battery The Lite is powered by a 5100 mAh battery so expect longer usage times. Fast charging is possible thanks to the MediaTek Pump Express 2.0, which drastically reduces charging times. Verdict If you’re in the market for a device that doesn’t compromise on style or performance – even on a budget, the Hisense Infinity H50 Lite could be the one for you!