TL;DR: Android 12 is on its way and with it a slew of brand new emoji updates along for the ride. The designs are modern, clean, and are sure to include a few contenders that will inevitably become iconic classics in no time.
Android 12 will ship with a revamp of tried-and-true emoji classics, and in fact, some will see a regression to previous versions found on older Android versions, much to the delight of die-hard fans. Joining Unicode’s effort to expand emoji options to greater breadths, 389 of the Android emoji will be updated in this release, only a year after Google’s last iteration.
Improvements include a global simplification of each icon, removing redundant elements when possible. They have flattened and streamlined the designs; where, before, there were two avocados, now there’s only one. Some of the adjustments are more drastic than others. Mount Fuji’s emoji, notably, no longer features its reflection. Many have simply been reinforced with a more cartoon-like appeal.
Gradient lighting effects appear to be falling out of fashion in Google’s eyes; reflections are made more specular, simplified to a single, homogeneous field. The lemon emoji and the bomb emoji are two notable examples in this category. The effect is light-hearted and pleasing to the eyes.
Overall, the shift in tone has rendered everything represented in the emoji library more adorable and plush than ever. The color palettes are balanced, and the subjects to behold are more charming and true-to-life as a result.
Critics of Google’s more questionable emoji changes might remember regretfully the blobs of olde. This development is anticipated to help them redeem themselves in the area of aesthetics, giving us the silly adornments that we need to liven up even the most depressing Slack conversation possible.
While Pixel users will be free to enjoy the new emoji designs immediately, those with third-party devices may need to find some way around the ones that their phones use in place of the official Android collection. Effort well-spent.