Your phone chats are about to get more… fantastical. Right on cue, the Unicode Consortium has released its promised batch of emoji and text characters. The finalized set of 56 emoji (up from 48 when we last reported) includes a slew of outlandish people and beasts, including zombies, vampires, fairies and dinosaurs. It also does more to accommodate women with emoji for breastfeeding and the hijab, while Stephen Colbert fans might be happy with the familiar-looking raised eyebrow (second from the upper left).
Outside of the emoji, the update also introduces a Bitcoin character and is more adept at handling less common languages or written requirements.
Don’t expect to use all these new characters right away. Your device operating system will need an update to recognize them, and there’s a good chance you’ll be waiting a while. You’ll likely have to wait until Android O to see them on a Google-powered phone, while the iPhone and iPad crowd will likely have to sit tight until iOS 11. There’s nothing stopping companies from adopting the new Unicode pack, however — it’s now just a question of everyone getting with the program.
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Facebook has created brand new emojis for Messenger, redesigned its old ones and standardized them for all operating systems. The social network will begin rolling out 1,500 newly designed emojis tomorrow, which will show up the way you see them on your device no matter the recipient’s platform. No more empty boxes taking their place if you’re chatting with someone using another OS. Even better, the new graphics embrace diversity — they include hand gestures and human faces in different skin colors, as well as images of same sex couples.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you already have access to Apple’s diverse smileys. But Messenger’s new selection is accessible everywhere the app is available, including Android and the web. At the moment, you can only use hand gestures in FB’s original blue-and-white coloring on Android, and you barely even have choices on the web. Messenger will ask for your preferred skin tone when you get the update, though you can change it again later.
Facebook is also taking a leaf out of Google’s book and launching more emojis that represent women, showing them in professional attire (e.g. police officer) and doing various activities like swimming, running and surfing. Finally, all 1,500 options will be available through the app’s new emoji picker when they make their way to your device.
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