Why it matters to you
A new artificial intelligence-powered assistant, an edge-to-edge screen, and a powerful camera are not the only new features Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is packing. It also comes with a host of new emoji. Hundreds, to be exact.
The 646 new emoji are courtesy of Android 7.0, the newest version of Google’s mobile operating system. Last year, the search giant announced support for Emoji 4.0 in Nougat, but the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are the first phones to ship with them enabled by default.
More: Apple and Microsoft put the kibosh on a proposed rifle emoji
New characters are joining the fray, too. There is a giraffe, broccoli, a pretzel, and chopsticks, plus a scientist, judge, pilot, teacher, a laptop-wielding technologist, and a boy with bunny ears. Exclusive to the Galaxy S8 is a group of folks with Samsung-branded laptops.
It’s all the result of a 2016 proposal. Last year, the Unicode Consortium — the organization charged with approving letters, digits, and symbols for the encoding standard Unicode — published a list of 51 candidates for the next major revision of Unicode, version 10.
More: Here’s how you can get the newest emojis on your smartphone
Included in the proposal was everything from a vomiting emoji and flying saucer to a “nude person in a steamy room.” But it also revealed an effort to make emojis more representative of an increasingly diverse audience. There is a breastfeeding mother, a woman wearing a hijab, and a bearded character.
“More than 90 percent of the world’s online population use emoji, but while there’s a huge range of emoji, there aren’t a lot that highlight the diversity of women’s careers, or empower young girls,” Nicole Bleuel, Marketing Lead and Diversity Champion at Emoji, said in a recent blog post. “We hope these updates help make emoji just a little more representative of the million of people around the globe who use them.”
Emoji not included in the Galaxy S8’s launch-day software will come in an update later in 2017.
More: This 12-year-old girl is another reminder that using the wrong emojis can get you arrested
One emoji that won’t be coming to the Galaxy S8 is the rifle emoji, which Microsoft and Apple — both members of the Unicode Consortium — vetoed last year. It was intended to appear alongside a set of sports-themed icons — including handball, water polo, and gymnastics — timed to coincide with the Olympic game in Rio de Janeiro. But it faced pushback from gun control groups who claimed it would “familiarize” and “popularize” the image of a weapon.
It wasn’t the first time Unicode members voted down proposed emoji. Apple opted to exclude the gun and knife emoji from MacOS’s keyboard.