On May 18, Google announced Android O was available in beta at Google I/O 2017. The new OS version arrived suddenly, and it has a new feature that not many people noticed until they tried it out: all-new, redesigned emoji.
That is right, Google has given its emoji lineup a complete overhaul, dropping the edgeless yellow gumdrop style for a more traditional rounded design. They now look more like the set of icons on iOS, and they are no longer bound to Android updates.
Android O’s beta is available for download right now, and users can test its many features including picture-in-picture mode, smart text selection, notification dots, and more. The new mobile OS was just one of the many announcements of the ongoing developers’ conference.
Android’s new emoji library is looking good
Google’s new set of emoji will roll out both for Android and its myriad of supporting services like Gmail, Google Drive, and more. They feature a fresh new design with more attention to detail.
The fourth generation of yellow icons is getting a facelift, with more color gradients and shaded finishes. The entire section of blobs now features rounded shapes, and they have dark yellow edges, while the people emoji can have different skin tones.
Hand signs and gestures look mostly the same, while hearts and a significant portion of the library are now colored in red instead of that weird orange tone featured in earlier generations.
Other elements like animals, shoes, and vehicles are all facing left now, which standardizes directions, unlike previous emoji libraries that were all randomized.
Plants, foods, and buildings now look more realistic with shaded details, while box icons get slimmer fonts for the elements inside that make them easier to read. The flags, well, they are all the same.
Emoji design updates will be backwards-compatible
Among the many features included in Android O, there is a new platform called EmojiCompat, which makes emoji independent of Android updates and versions.
Before, to get new emoji (which Google has changed regularly over the years) users had to update to the latest version of Android or buy new devices that shipped with it and the new icon library.
Now, EmojiCompat turns the system around and gives control to subscribing developers and apps to keep up with potential emoji changes in the future. The support library works with Android 4.4 and later, which means that even users running those OS versions can get new emoji in some apps.
More features are coming to Android O, but Google will reveal them progressively as its launch approaches later this summer.
Source: Ars Technica