Android users are soon going to get a whole load of new emoji to express themselves with.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Android at Google, announced on Twitter on Thursday morning that the mobile operating system will be introducing a suite of new emoji next week. These include the unicorn, the lion, the crab — and more.
Because of the way Android works, the new emoji won’t be available on all Android devices simultaneously. Google is going to make them available on its Nexus devices — its line of flagship smartphones — next week. It is also sharing the fonts and technical details with other manufacturers, and those companies will then be responsible for pushing out an update to customers’ smartphones.
So unless you’re using a Nexus device, how soon you get them depends on when Samsung, or LG, or HTC, or whatever smartphone company your device is made by gets around to releasing the update.
Emoji aren’t created by tech companies like Google and Apple (although the way they ultimately look is determined by the fonts the company chooses). Instead, a non-profit organisation called the Unicode Consortium sets the standards.
Once the Unicode Consortium settles on new emoji, it’s then up to Google/Apple/Microsoft/etc. to integrate support for the new emoji into their products if they want to be able to render them properly. Google could (hypothetically) choose not to use a certain emoji if it didn’t like it, and new emojis are not immediately available.
We’ve reached out to Google for confirmation on exactly which emoji are making their way to Android, and will update this story when it responds. But it seems like a reasonable assumption that Google is going to update Android to support every emoji it doesn’t currently — as Apple did earlier this year, when it released the iOS 9.1 update. That brought 184 new emoji to Apple’s mobile operating system.
These new emoji included the robot, the turkey, and the middle finger, according to emoji news site Emojipedia.