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Google I/O 2017: Android O to Bring Redesigned Emojis, Full Support for Emoji 5.0 Characters

Google I/O 2017: Android O to Bring Redesigned Emojis, Full Support for Emoji 5.0 Characters

Photo Credit: Emojipedia

Highlights
  • Emoji 5.0 support brings vomiting head, exploding face emojis
  • Android O kills blob emojis and brings circular-shaped smileys
  • All old and new emojis have been redesigned

Google touched upon Android O's new features like picture-in-picture, Smart Text Selection, Android Vitals, and much more at its Google I/O 2017 keynote. However, one big announcement made alongside was that, with Android O, Google is bringing a whole new design for its emojis – one that is more compatible with other platforms and has more tonal colour for a fun modern look. More importantly, the blobs are killed off, and more circular shaped emojis – similar to iOS – will be introduced. Also, the entire the gamut of Emoji 5.0 characters will arrive with Android O.

The blob emojis have been around since Android 4.4 KitKat, and although they have evolved over the years, their compatibility with other platforms was severed. To presumably rectify that blasphemy, Android O brings a complete redesign of its old and new emojis, making the smileys round-shaped, consistent with all the other operating systems. Apart from the blob emojis, all the other emojis have also been redesigned and they all have a new tonal stroke around each emoji, and gradients are now used on a number of designs. However, an Emojipedia report states that some emojis may retain their old design, while some may see a major revamp, and may take some getting used to.

Emojipedia also reports that Android O will be fully compatible with Emoji 5.0 launched in March, which means the exploding head, vomit face, the dinosaurs; the orange heart emojis will all arrive with the update. These include nine new smileys, animals like giraffe, foods like pretzel and dumpling, and a Mage emoji as well. Of course, these changes will mostly be seen by Pixel and Nexus users that get stock Android, while other Android devices from Samsung and others may see a more skinned version of these emojis.

With Android O, Google also tries to solve the blank square emoji issue on smartphones running on older Android versions. Because of an old OS version, the latest Unicode revision is not supported on these smartphones, leading to a blank square, in place of one of the new emoji. To combat this issue, it has introduced an emojicompat support library that lets app developers replace emoji library with latest version to bring all character support on old smartphones. The new emojis may look different than what it is intended to, but at least the black space issue won’t be there.

However, do note that this change is coming to smartphones post Android O, so current old smartphone owners don’t get any solution. Also, this solution depends on the app developer, and if they think it’s too cumbersome to do it, then you may still be stuck with old Unicode revisions only.

We discussed everything that was announced at Google I/O 2017 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just hit the play button below to listen to this episode.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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