For the past two years, we’d seen how dramatically Huawei’s EMUI had evolved. In 2018, Huawei introduced the new gesture navigation system through the EMUI 9. Subsequently, we have the renowned GPU Turbo 3.0 and EROFS file system which came along with EMUI 9.1.
In EMUI 10, the much anticipated system-wide dark mode was introduced along with more tweaks to the user interface. More recently, Huawei also officially launched their own proprietary AI voice assistant known as Celia in the EMUI 10.1.
This year, Huawei continues their quest in perfecting user experience and enhancing productivity with the next generation’s EMUI 11 which was finally announced last week during the annual Huawei Developer Conference.
As expected, Huawei had once again impressed us with loads of new features and improvements in the new EMUI 11. Most of them in my opinion, are great additions that will differentiate them from other custom user interface.
Without further ado, let’s check out some of the more interesting features in EMUI 11!
An Artsy AOD
Always-on display, also known as AOD, is an intuitive feature that allows you to customize and display important information on the screen like date, time, battery status and etc.
Since this is among the most used features for smartphone users, Huawei has placed a huge emphasize in improving this feature during the past few iterations. In the new EMUI 11, Huawei has brought in a fresh Mondrian Style design for its AOD screen.
What’s interesting however, is that the Mondrain Style option allows us to customize its colors from a set of preset colors, or even extract colors from photo to form a color palette.
Create Your Own AOD
Although there’s a huge selection of AOD designs in EMUI 11, but Huawei still wants to give you the ability to customize the AOD with your own images which can take the form of a still image, animated gifs or a live photo.
With that, you’ll have even more control over the AOD design than ever.
Moving on, EMUI 11 allows you to switch between the Month and Date view by simply pinching the screen.
On top of that, you will also be greeted with a new Magazine-style layout under the Album section. Needless to say, it looks more refreshing than those typical grid layout we’ve been seeing for the past couple of years.
Another interesting feature which come along with EMUI 11 include the synchronized vibration mode which makes the device vibrates in accordance to the ringtone.
For now, this feature is available only to system ringtone. However, we won’t be surprised if it becomes available to non-system ringtone eventually.
The key highlight among all in my opinion, is none other than the new “Smart Multi-Window” feature. This feature brings a vertical panel at the edge which can be activated simply by doing an inward swiping movement from either side of the edge and hold.
You can customize the panel with up to 15 different apps to help you in your multi-tasking. By tapping on any of the apps within the panel, it will open up in a minimized window in the foreground without closing the current app.
Traditionally, this isn’t possible as you will need to close the current app in order to open a new app. With this feature, you can now reply to WhatsApp messages without the need to pause your video.
Of course, EMUI 11 also gives you the ability to adjust the size of the floating windows by dragging either of its corners at the bottom. Moreover, you can also shift the windows around by dragging the top bar of the Window which I’ve demonstrated in the recording above.
This suite of advanced functionalities definitely improve the multi-tasking capabilities of Huawei smartphones and allow users to achieve greater productivity.
A Really Advanced Notepad
Huawei’s Notepad is no longer as simple as it sounds. It has now turned into a productivity workhorse with loads of powerful features in EMUI 11.
One of the head turning feature within the Notepad app will be its ability to scan any texts, be it printed texts on a book or a random box you can find, and render it into an editable texts.
After editing, you will be able to save it in various file formats including the more common Words document or PDF files to name a few.
Since these features are normally available exclusively to paid apps, its definitely good to see them available free of charge in EMUI 11.
Celia Goes Global
In EMUI 11, Huawei’s proprietary AI voice assistant Celia will be available in more countries, as well as two new languages including Italian and German.
Since this is a fairly new feature introduced in the recent EMUI 10.1 iteration, its availability and language of support remain relatively limited. However, we do expect Huawei to expand this awesome feature to more markets, as well as widening its language of support in future updates.
So don’t worry if Celia is not yet available in your country or language.
As always, Huawei continued to ramp up user’s privacy in the new EMUI 11 as well.
In EMUI 11, users are able to have more control over data collected by both running and background apps. Traditionally, users need to decide between “always allow” or “deny” a particular permission requested by an app.
Now, they have a third option that allows them to grant permission “only while in use”. This means that the same app will have to request for permission again once it has been cleared.
Likewise, you can also easily manage the permissions granted to various apps by heading to Settings > Privacy > Permission manager as seen in the demo I’d recorded.
Some end thoughts…
All in all, the new EMUI 11 indeed resonates well with the company’s ambition to promote greater multi-tasking and cross device collaboration among Huawei devices.
Even though the EMUI 11 is based on Android 10, but that doesn’t seems much of an issue when we look at those advanced features it brings to the table.
In fact, the EMUI 11 is Huawei’s best testament to prove that the company is able to thrive even without implementing any of the latest Android 11 source code.
As such, it can be seen as a step forward in disassociating itself from Android OS, and a step closer towards the actual implementation of the company’s in-house Harmony OS which may finally be available to Huawei smartphones next year.
For those interested in the latest EMUI 11, its Beta version is already available for the P40 series, Mate 30 series, as well as MatePad Pro series starting with the Chinese market. Therefore, it should be heading to the global markets soon as well.