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Unicode Consortium announces 250 new emoji characters, ethnic diversity not included

Source: Unicode Consortium

Last updated

The Unicode Consortium on Monday announced the latest Unicode Standard version 7.0 release includes 2,834 new characters and — more importantly to avid texters — more than 250 pictographs, otherwise known as emoji.

In a post to its official blog, the Unicode Consortium announced the new characters, which include new currency symbols, 23 historic scripts and the widely-used emoji character lineup, along with other assets. The Unicode Standard allows for cohesive implementation of text characters across various software, including platforms like iOS and Google's Android.

Describing the emoji additions, the consortium said most of the new characters are based on those that are long-standing and have seen widespread use in Wingdings and Webdings fonts. As seen above, a few examples were published including a hot chili pepper, Vulcan salute from Star Trek and a thermometer.

A more comprehensive list can be found at Emojipedia, which points to interesting new characters like "Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended," "Building Construction" and "Man in Business Suit Levitating."

Noticeably absent from the list are additions to "people emoji," which recently became a topic of discussion as the current set lacks ethnic diversity. The most widely represented race is caucasian, critics say, while "minorities" are grossly underrepresented.

In March, Apple said it was planning to introduce a more diverse selection of characters in a future iOS release, but failed to pin down an exact date or time range for the upcoming additions. As far as ethnicities are concerned, the latest iOS 8 beta release carries over the same emoji icons from iOS 7.

Apple most recently updated its people character lineup in iOS 6 when the company introduced same-sex couples and families to the mobile operating system's offerings.

It is unknown when the Unicode Standard update will be rolled in to iOS as it is up to platform makers when to include the new assets.