5 Features That Changed the Smartphone Game

The features that changed the smartphone game in the world.

Published
Tech News
4 min read
iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo: iStockphoto)

So, what is a ‘feature’ exactly? It can be anything from a good camera to the new fingerprint sensor. But a good feature is one that you didn’t know you needed. What do we mean? It’s something that you happened to get and can’t live without now. Smartphone companies give you a lot of jargon about the latest dual-lens cameras and so on, but is it really worth it? Come to think of it, HTC’s dual cameras don’t do anything that you couldn’t do with Photoshop, right?

But there are features that have made a big difference in the smartphone universe. Here’s a list.

1. Multi-touch

Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)

When I was younger, my friend came to me with the newest touchscreen phone in the market. Excited, I pulled out the stylus and started pressing away to glory, only to realise that it was no use at all. Then, came the late Steve Jobs’ depiction of multi-touch. Lo and behold, smartphones came into being, and they were actually usable. Now that’s something we can’t live without. I found styluses cool once, and then I just didn’t.

2. Emoticons

The six new buttons appear as animated emoticons and pop up when the like button is long-pressed on the Facebook app. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook)
The six new buttons appear as animated emoticons and pop up when the like button is long-pressed on the Facebook app. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

Messaging was great, as were emails, but they lacked something – the personal touch. Our parents still miss writing a letter because it had that personal touch of somebody actually sitting down to write. But, emails and SMS aren’t meant to be as long as letters, after all, SMS stands for Short Messaging Service. So how do you make them more personal? With tiny yellow circles that depict the human face and its emotions, of course.

While emojis came later, the original emoticons were just symbols – the colon and round bracket. They became so popular that even official emails have them nowadays. When was the last time you sent a WhatsApp message that didn’t have an emoji?

3. Bluetooth

Apple Watch uses low powered bluetooth connectivity. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Apple Watch uses low powered bluetooth connectivity. (Photo: The Quint)

A true geek will tell you that anything can be made better with Bluetooth. Why? Because it can. If you and your friend are sitting next to each other, you shouldn’t need a cable to transfer data between yourselves. Neither should you contact a server in some far off land to send the data to your friend. Just connect using Bluetooth and send away. The fact that it was more powerful than infra-red helped, of course. And now, it’s everywhere.

4. Machine Learning

Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Representational image. (Photo: iStockphoto)

You don’t realise it, but machine learning is all around you. It’s the first step to real artificial intelligence, and scary as that might be, it’s currently very useful. Ever thought about why Google Now is so far ahead of Siri and Cortana? It’s because Google has way more data than either Apple or Microsoft on its users. Machine learning works with data and helps machines understand things and work by themselves. A good example of this is the Google keyboard on your Android phone. You know how it recognises contact names automatically? Or how it gets Hindi words right after you’ve typed them a few times? That’s machine learning!

5. Sync

Now find your Android smartphone with a Google search. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Now find your Android smartphone with a Google search. (Photo: The Quint)

Many or most of the problems in your smartphone can be solved using a factory reset. But would you really factory reset your phone too often if you didn’t have sync? Your contacts are on the cloud, your images are safely saved, and all of that without you having to do anything but connect to a WiFi network. Many of us use the cloud without even knowing that we’re using it, and that’s why it’s a feature worth recommending.

(Som Dasgupta is a freelance journalist who thrives on everything tech. After all the time he’s spent around technology, he’d like to think he’s turned into a robot.)

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