Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.

Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access. Users can now spice up their text messages, emails, and other communiqués with fun Japanese-inspired characters and mood icons.


There's no denying KitKat has delivered a boatload of fun and interesting new features worth a quick spotlight, and we're not done yet. For Google's own high-level overview, hit the link below.

Update: If you're itching to try out the new keyboard, we've got the APK available for download here!

Source: Google

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • The_Chlero

    This is part of KitKat-only or is an update to the Google Keyboard found in Play Store?

    • Sietai

      Based on how they phrased it, I'm assuming they aren't don't know yet. Got to see if the Google Keyboard gets an update in the Play Store.

    • http://blog.jalcine.me/ Jacky Alcine

      It's probably an update but targeted at API >= 19 (Kitkat)

    • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.

      I have the new keyboard on my N4 on 4.3 but it looks like it doesn't have all of the emojii.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      As Sietai noted, it isn't clear yet whether any update in the Play Store will allow this integration on 4.3 devices. We shouldn't have too long to wait to find out though. If it does come in an update to 4.3 devices you can bet we'll have it up on the site!

  • flosserelli

    I am not an emoji freak, but it is nice to see aosp keyboard integrate a feature that has been available on other platforms for years.

    • dhruva

      really which platform?

      • aaa


        • dhruva

          fine i didnt know

          • PainToad

            Typical ignorant fandroid.

          • worldclassflame

            Typical pompous itard.

          • Just_Some_Nobody

            You are awesome.
            No, really, you're not.

      • philnolan3d

        Pretty much every platform in Japan where they came from.

      • Mantis

        Err... non nexus devices like Note 3.

        • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

          That's not a platform that's a third party keyboard.
          iOS has had emoji for a while now but Android has relied on 3rd party keyboards and a dated "smilies key" for far too long.

          • Skander

            Emoji's are integrated in the Note 3 system wide.

            It's not just part of the keyboard.

          • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

            You mean because you can see them?

          • Skander

            You can see them and use them on any application.
            (the keyboard has en emoji button too).
            It also can see other emoji from the iPhone let's say but they appear with the Samsung designed emoji.

          • gallardo medicus

            This is also true in Galaxy S4.

  • Mystro


    • CoreRooted

      APK for KitKit? You're kidding, right? (The keyboard has been released on XDA, but there are lots of reports of the emojis not being there and not working in a lot of apps).

      • Mystro

        Not for KitKit, just wondering if the keyboard was being updated with emojis

  • Lupe Fiasco

    I assume these Emoji's are system wide now in KitKat 4.4 as opposed to the Android Emoji's in 4.3 and Below?

    • Johnny Nguyen

      Hey according to @philnolan3d emoji is singular & plural. Edit it before he gets on your case!

      • lowert

        I think this is another situation, since he used Emoji in it's possessive form for some unknown reason.

        • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

          But he didn't use possessive form.

          • lowert

            "Emoji's" is possessive form.

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    Inb4 a flood of emoji in Google+ posts.

  • Johnny Nguyen

    They need emojis to show correctly on websites/social media. Not that black/white bs

    • philnolan3d

      Fun fact. Emoji is both singular and plural.

      • Johnny Nguyen

        Ohhh my goodness good catch! Now let me update it so I can get more upvotes. Good eye

        • SlenderSniper

          2 hours later you still haven't fixed it...

      • shonangreg

        Hibachi, being from Japanese, is also both singular and plural. But I do have two hibachis (;-)(-;)

        Then again, there are some people who think it is never appropriate to use an apostrophe "s" for plurals, so go figure.

        • philnolan3d

          Even the article got it correct.

  • Pedro Alvizu

    I just checked. On android 4.3 the keyboard shows a lot of emojis (black and white though). But on android 4.2.2 it shows only a few (and ugly ones) :(

  • jonathan3579

    This is exciting news. I know it's a simple addition but it's a long awaited one.

  • dhruva

    still not done! how much more kitkat are you left with?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      A couple of bars at least!

      • WHO?

        Im sure someone is already on it? The new leaked hangout APK. Doesn't support Google voice mms/emoji's SMH

  • WHO?

    Bet they still wont work through Google Voice integration

  • dhruva

    google keyboard, clock, dialer, email apps have been updated in kitkat. are they all part of aosp? or do they belong to gapps? just thinking about the article ron wrote about android closed vs open..

    • pfmiller

      Google keyboard was already removed from aosp. Clock I'm guessing will stay, but I wouldn't be surprised if dialer was removed now. The proprietary Maps integration is not likely to be open sourced.

  • genius13

    I download the new google keyboard apk but I don't see the new emoji support

  • Cael

    ①②③④⑤⑥⑦⑧⑨⑩®©™✴✳✖↕↗➡↘↙↖↔◀▶❇▪‼♠♥♣♦↩↪=-O :-P ;-) :-( :-) :-! :-$ B-) :O :-* :-D :'( :- O:-) :-[
    That's all I got on my droid 4, not rooted

    • Paul Weber

      That's all I got on my GNex (Verizon, not rooted) too. Perhaps there is a apk somewhere we need to download?

      • Christina

        Same here, GS2, android 4.1.

  • ConCal

    Finally! Buts its not like I actually care to use it. it's just now my iOS using friends won't have anything over stock android.

  • Primalxconvoy

    Where is the download? I wants it.

  • pookietookie

    This is nice to see but the unfortunate part is that the icons themselves are different from iOS, which means anyone you text on that platform will see very different looking graphics (even if the general meaning is the same). That's a real bummer from a consistency perspective.

    • lowert

      I don't necessarily think so, as long as the icons represent the same objects on both platforms.

      • pookietookie

        Reminds me of the new share icon in iOS 7 versus the one in Android. Same meaning but till think it would have been nicer if everyone could agree on one look.

        • lowert

          Yeah, that's a different story, because they're part of the interaction design, and that should be unified, but I think the iOS's emoji would not fit in android's design guidelines.

    • Ahmed Haji

      HTC's emoji looks million time better than iPhone's ..

    • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

      I agree, but I think Android has the right idea here. Flat icons and overlays are becoming the norm for OS design themes. I wouldn't be surprised if iOS updated their emoji (emojis?) into a more flat style in the future rather than the more 3D and bulky style they have today.

  • elefantengulli

    What is displayed at the receiver's phone if I send a text with Kitkat emojis to
    a) Android phones lower than Kitkat?
    b) Apple iPhones?
    c) non-smartphones?

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      That could end up sending some ugly emails.

    • Ural Yulmukhametov

      They will see Emoji, if theirs phones supports it. But they see theirs emoji, built in in phone. Emoji are just another typeface/codepage where are smiles instead of letters.

    • elefantengulli

      Not specifically about the Kitkat keyboard... BTW... I made some tests with the new Hangouts that includes SMS. I sent texts with Hangouts smileys (using a non Kitkat keyboard). The emojis were displayed at the first receiver's dumbphone as empty squares. The second receiver's Android 4.0.4 smartphone standard SMS app displayed simple forms of the emojis in black and white.

  • Crispin Swickard

    Got a force close on the GNex messing around with the gesture typing after a message got pretty long. Tried to replicate it but I have gotten that the message just vanished after a certain length. I typically don't use gesture typing, but for those that do be away that there seems to be some issues on 4.3 at least with this version.

  • arjunu

    Installed it in my ICS phone but no emoji!

  • pandit

    nice shotcut symbol for easy chatting with feeling

  • Horld

    Emoji help us to prevent miscommunication about the tone and emotion of our message, thank you google