Samsung's Biggest Ever Emoji Update

Samsung surprised many when it updated emojis on the flagship Galaxy Note 7 in August this year, yet failed to address the majority of the emoji shortcomings such as skin tones, or support for newer emojis.

That changes with the latest emoji update from Samsung, rolling out now to Galaxy Note 7 users.

In an odd turn of events, Samsung's biggest emoji update in years has been released as part of the relatively feature-free1 Green Battery Update which was released on September 22, 2016.

This update to the Galaxy Note software changes 70 existing emojis, and includes 496 new emojis for the first time.

The Android version has not changed in this update, and remains the same as the launch release of the Galaxy Note 7 (Android 6.0.1)

Unicode 9

Appearing for the first time in this update are emojis with support for skin tone modifiers, as well as the latest Unicode 9 updates.

This includes includes new emojis like ๐Ÿคค Drooling Face:

Above: Drooling Face is understated in Samsung's emoji font (middle).

Other additions include ๐Ÿคฃ Rolling On The Floor Laughing, ๐Ÿคฆ Face Palm, and more.

Above: All 72 emojis from Unicode 9 are supported on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Update.

The full list of Unicode 9 emojis now rolling out to Samsung users:

As with other platforms, emojis with human appearance listed above also have five additional variations, for each skin tone.

Of the new emojis, the ๐Ÿคž Hand With Index And Middle Fingers Crossed has an odd quirk, featuring an additional finger:

We'll stay tuned to see if this is fixed in a future Samsung emoji update.

Skin Tones

Skin tone modifiers were added to the Unicode standard in early 2015, and have since found their way to all major platforms.

Samsung joins the party with this update now supporting a base emoji, plus five skin tone variations for each of the humans:

Emojis with more than one person also support skin tones, but both people must have the same skin tone.

This is due to the fact that most of these characters are implemented as a single codepoint, which can therefore only accept one modifier for skin tone.

Above: Wrestlers and Handshake support skin tones, but the same skin tone must apply to both characters.

Default Skin Tones

In a change from other platforms, the default skin tone remains white, rather than going with a "Simpsons yellow" as recommended by Unicode, and used on other platforms.

Lโ€”R: Default skin tones from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung.

๐Ÿ‘ฎ Police Officer and ๐Ÿ’ƒ Dancer previously had a darker skin tone on Samsung devices. This has changed to white as the default, now that a specific skin tone can be chosen.

Samsung's Dancer emoji has had a wild few years:

Gender Changes

Many emoji genders were changed to match Apple's emoji appearance in this update.

For instance, ๐Ÿ™‡ Person Bowing Deeply previously showed a girl, and now shows a boy.

Top: Old Samsung Emoji font. Bottom: New Samsung Emoji font with genders changed.

Gender switches in this update include:

Female -> Male
Male -> Female

Less Symbols

A number of emojis that previously had a "symbol" appearance have gained a realistic appearance in this update from Samsung.

Top: Many emojis had a symbol-like appearance previously. Bottom: Realistic overhaul in this update.

Symbols given an IRL upgrade include:

Smileys

๐Ÿ˜— Kissing Face has gone less "smooch" and more "blowing a kiss"2:

๐Ÿ˜” Pensive Face has closed its eyes, but otherwise keeps a similar mourning vibe:

๐Ÿ˜† Smiling Face With Open Mouth and Tightly-Closed Eyes gets eyes that more closely match other platforms:

โ˜น White Frowning Face is now yellow3 like the rest of the emojis:

๐Ÿ˜ณ Flushed Face lost the small eyes and now has wide eyes:

๐Ÿ˜ก Pouting Face now has an orange tone:

โ„น๏ธ Tip: click any image on Emojipedia to view the platform history for that emoji.

What Else

๐Ÿ•ฏ Candle has changed from a shade of pink into a plain white:

๐Ÿ‘ฒ Man With Gua Pi Mao now has more rounded eyes:

๐Ÿ“Ÿ Pager now says SUNMOON on the display instead of 9545684:

๐Ÿ‘ค Bust in Silhouette and ๐Ÿ‘ฅ Busts in Silhouette now have thicker outlines.

Graffiti

Emoji sets are a popular place for designers to include little easter eggs that provide a wink or a nod to an internal company detail.

For instance Twitter makes the ๐Ÿข Office Building look like their own headquarters, LG has their logo on ๐Ÿ”– Bookmark, and Apple has their Johnny Appleseed character on ๐Ÿ’ณ Credit Card.

Samsung has gone above and beyond with this update, adding all manner of easter eggs to existing emojis.

Galaxy Note 7 emojis before update:

Galaxy Note 7 emojis after update:

Initials such as HY, JYS, LHK, and WH are now scrawled across at least 10 Samsung emojis.

Instead of making subtle additions, these letters are distracting, and may change the meaning to users.

Bug

The letters "U" and "V" are mixed up in this latest update from Samsung:

These characters are used to create emoji flags - so are rarely seen individually - but if an unsupported country code or singleton is shown out of sequence, this is what Galaxy Note 7 users will see:

Hardly a deal-breaker, but an odd bug to make its way into a shipping product4.

Release

This release is currently only being distributed to users of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

It is expected that it will be rolled into future updates for other devices, but Samsung has yet to confirm the details of this.


  1. Thanks to Alexander for the tip-off on this un-announced inclusion. โ†ฉ

  2. This change was displayed in a Samsung Press Release in December 2015, but this is the first time it has been included on a shipping phone. โ†ฉ

  3. Despite the name, it was never meant to be white. Many emojis re-use older characters which used white to mean hollow, and black to mean solid in the B&W days. โ†ฉ

  4. Then again, this is the update that's in relation to this... โ†ฉ