September 26, 2021

Colorful new emoji are set to arrive on Android and other platforms


Source: Unicode Consortium

The Covid-19 pandemic may have delayed things a bit, but the latest emoji have been revealed in a draft for the upcoming Emoji 14 update.

The new additions offer a look into the more inclusive direction that emoji are taking. The list included more hand positions with multi-color selections and even a new mixed-color handshake.

Most notably, the new emoji now include a pregnant man and pregnant person, which sheds more light on the trans and non-binary communities and highlights how pregnancy is also possible for these individuals.

While the addition of more inclusive emoji may not seem like a big deal to some, studies have shown that many users across the globe use emoji to help communicate and often feel underrepresented by the selection. A report from Adobe showed that only about half of the surveyed users felt represented, while most believed that emojis could “help spark positive conversations about important cultural and societal issues.”

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Adobe typeface designer Paul Hunt agrees that emojis are important cultural tools for communication. “My own personal philosophy about emoji is that it is a reminder that we live in a world of real things and real people,” says Hunt, who has been a strong advocate for more inclusive emoji. “Even if we are only approximating them using cartoon pictures of objects that we love, and that we use to serve as the words we can’t quite vocalize or write.”

The latest numbers show that 89% of emoji users agreed that the little cartoons make it easier to communicate across language barriers. At the same time, more than half of those surveyed said that they prefer emoji to in-person and even phone conversations.

…we respond more emotionally to imagery, and so, emoji can help approximate tone of voice, gestures and emotional reactions better with imagery than with words alone.

Other fun emoji introduced in the draft include a melting smiley, some of the most awkward faces ever, and a biting lip for anyone feeling a tad frisky. Microsoft has even put in a “petition” to get Clippy its own emoji, and it seems to have succeeded.

The final selection will be made in September as part of the new Unicode 14 release. The new emoji are expected to arrive on the best Android phones and other devices in late 2021 or early 2022. You can see the sample images here, although it should be noted that they are subject to change.

Update, Sept. 14 (7:45 p.m. ET) ― Unicode approves 37 new emoji

The Unicode Consortium has announced that 37 new emoji have been approved and are set to arrive with the release of Unicode 14. These new emoji include those mentioned, as well as 75 skin tone variations arriving on new and existing emoji.

Emojipedia notes that major platforms, including iOS, may not receive the new emoji until sometime in 2022. However, the new emoji could arrive even sooner for Android devices since Google committed to faster emoji updates. This is also separate from the updated emoji designs that Google is also rolling out with Android 12.

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