Back in April, we were reporting the coronavirus pandemic would delay Unicode 14.0's release by six months, implying no new emoji would be released in 2021. Thankfully, a minor update called Emoji 13.1 is said to be in the making, which should bring some new additions next year.
Like almost any new Android version, Android 11 ships with a selection of new emoji — 117, to be exact. If you currently want to use them in texts and messages, you need to copy and paste them from resources like Emojipedia, but that's finally changing. The latest Gboard beta is adding initial support for the new Emoji 13 set on Android 11.
A new Android version would never be complete without a selection of new emoji. While keyboards and apps can take advantage of the emoji support library introduced with Android O and display any emoji independently, having new smilies in the system itself means you can see them in notifications and in those applications that don't rely on the EmojiCompat library. Subsequently, the Android 11 Beta packs all of the emoticons from the latest Unicode Emoji 13 update.
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Microsoft acquired SwiftKey about four years ago, and apart from some additions like optional Microsoft accounts, Bing, and the company's translate feature, it didn't change too much about the popular third-party keyboard. Earlier this year, though, Microsoft's name got more prominent in the app's settings, and now, the Redmond giant has decided it's about time to make it even more obvious whose keyboard you're using. Following a beta test run, the latest stable version of SwiftKey is now called "Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard" and comes with a refreshed logo. On the feature front, it only offers new emoji for Android 10 users.
Each year, the Unicode Consortium receives innumerable suggestions of new emoji to add to the already exhaustive library of designs. Emoji 12.1 was released this past winter and included such hits as "farmer with pitchfork" and "person with probing cane." By the end of this most recent proposal cycle for Emoji 13.0, Unicode had picked roughly 60 designs that now go on to be officially designed and distributed by each emoji-using platform.
Unicode 12.0 was officially announced many months ago, but the emojis and changes it brought have slowly been trickling down to different platforms. Google already implemented them in Android 10, but WhatsApp, which likes to use its own cross-platform designs, is just now following suit.
The Unicode Consortium has released Emoji 12.1, and with it, 168 new emoji. Well, they're not entirely new; the majority are variations on existing emoji to provide greater flexibility when selecting characters. Many of the new additions come by way of additional hair styles.
Gboard's latest update is out, but the changes are pretty sparse. Outside of a few wording changes and surely some bug fixes, there's not much for users to see. In fact, most of these updates include a plethora of new languages, keyboards for specific geographic regions, or other similar customizations, but even those aren't to be found in this update. However, a teardown does turn up one upcoming addition in the form of a new keyboard dedicated to useful symbols.
In the biggest change the platform has seen since the switch to 280 characters, Twitter has changed the way it counts characters for emoji. Previously, some emoji — like those with additionally defined gender or skin tone — counted as more characters than others, due to the method of their encoding. But as of now, all emoji will be counted equally as two characters.
Android P Beta 2 / DP3 just landed earlier today, and while we're digging in to look for new features, a few of the more visually apparent additions have already been revealed. Today's release includes support for Unicode/Emoji 11.0—which was technically only officially released yesterday—as well as some tweaked gender-inclusive family and couple emoji which more closely follow the Unicode standard.