Keyboards are big business now. Gone are the times when as long as a keyboard had buttons and simply outputted the message you were trying to convey was good enough. Nope, now even the keyboard, its look, style and presentation are up for debate. As such there are a number of aftermarket keyboards you can install to help individualize the typing experience. Android’s latest operating system, Android 5.0 (Lollipop) is no different bringing with it a much changed design. In short the actual design (like Material Design in general) adopts a more basic look. The keyboard is less defined in terms of key separation and spacing (no key lines for instance) and adopts a much cleaner and crisp overall look. We first got to see what the new keyboard looked like in the first Android L Preview image a few months back. Now the latest incarnation of the Lollipop Preview has been released and as such again its updated keyboard. If you are lucky enough to be a Nexus 5 or 7 owner then chances are you are already experiencing the new keyboard as you are the only guys who were able to install the latest preview. That said, the new keyboard has at least been made available as a separate apk which can be installed on any android device, rooted or not.
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In terms of the new keyboard, not a lot has actually changed since the previous L preview. The aesthetic appearance of the Keyboard remains much the same with a cleaner, plainer look although it is available in both Material Light and Dark colors. However one change being noted is the emoji. I’m pretty sure you all know what they are but for those who might not they are the small little smileys, faces and animations you can include into messages and the like. Now, not all of the emoji have been updated as it seems this was an ongoing goal of Android over the last few incarnations and as such a lot of the early groundwork had been already in place. For instance, recently the tendency for faces has been towards a more yellowish presentation to represent everyone instead of having to worry about racial variations of the same emoji. However, a number of the previous emoji still adopted a paler skin tone. Now in the newer updated emoji list most of these have adopted the yellow tone. It also seems that presently a number of body parts (ears, eyes, arms etc) have no colour at all and instead appear as outlined plain images. It is not sure if this is intentional and will be what is used for emoji body parts on Lollipop or if this is still in development and will be ironed out before the general release of Lollipop.
So what do you think? Do you like the new all-yellow coloring of all human emoji or would you prefer to see more skin tone relevance included? Generally speaking, it is easier for Google to simply roll out color-neutral emoji which can represent everyone and no-one in particular but how do you feel about this? What about the body parts? Would you prefer them to keep the pink outline and no main color or rather these also adopt the yellow tone for consistency? Let us know your thoughts in the usual way.