Samsung’s Galaxy S21 (left) and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Sarah Tew / CNET

the Covid-19 pandemic required working from home, going to school, and socializing – which meant our technology was taking on new meaning in our lives. Although the lockdowns are over, the time we spent at home in 2020 has given us up Samsung lots of ideas like that Smartphone Experience could be improved.

These findings are displayed in One UI 4, Samsung’s next big piece of software Update that will roll out on Monday the Galaxy S21 Series.

“We looked at existing features and understood what was being used more due to the pandemic, and we stepped up that,” Hyesoon Sally Jeong, Samsung’s vice president and head of framework research and development, told CNET through a translator.

The update mainly focuses on improving areas like privacy, Ease of use, personalization and communication, elements that Samsung had become especially important as many people spent more time on their phones during the shutdown time. This is another example of the broader change that has taken place in the tech industry as companies began adapting their products to make remote working and socializing easier.

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One such feature in Samsung’s update is the ability to record audio and video during conference calls, an addition that was inspired by distance learning. “We realized that our users might want to record the audio or video while interacting with their teachers or students remotely,” Jeong said. “This is why teachers may want to record the audio or video conference to monitor the class or the sessions they taught the students.”

But perhaps the biggest change that influenced Samsung’s strategy in designing the One UI 4 was the amount of time we spent with our smartphones. A recent study published in the JAMA Pediatrics Journal found that Screen time doubled in teenagers during the pandemic, without virtual learning.

As such, Samsung tries to make its smartphones clearer for a longer period of time with cosmetic updates in One UI 4 Kim, head of Samsung’s Core User Experience Group, also told CNET about a translator. “Because the screen time has increased, your eyes are comfortable [and] Reducing eye fatigue has become more important than ever. “

The company made aesthetic changes to its software, such as reducing the number of colors in the user interface and adjusting the size and layout of fonts. It also worked with Google to allow the screen to be dimmed darker than has previously been possible when using the phone in low light environments. Samsung’s emoji pair feature – which allows you to send two emojis at the same time – was also triggered by our reliance on our phones for communication and socializing in 2020.

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Samsung’s software update is just one example of the lasting impact the pandemic is having on the way technology companies design and develop their products. This influence is shown in Apple’s iOS 15 software, even. One of the headline features of the update is SharePlaywith which you can easily watch movies, TV or listen to music with others using FaceTime. Such functionality would have been particularly useful during the shutdown phase when many people were looking for ways to host virtual movie nights Zooming.

CES 2021 also showed the best efforts by technology companies to make products that reflect the lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic. In addition to Razer’s high-tech face mask and a temperature-sensitive doorbell, we’ve also seen laptops with better cameras that apparently designed for remote work.

Aside from the additions mentioned above, One UI 4 also has features like a new privacy dashboard, the ability to share your exact location with apps, more uniform widgets with rounded corners, and more color palettes for customizing your phone’s theme. The software is now available for the Galaxy S21 range and will be available soon for older Galaxy S phones, Galaxy A phones, and The foldable devices from Samsung and tablets.

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