Google's Gboard keyboard is reportedly now gaining 117 new Android 11-specific emoji in the beta variant of the app. That comes with one caveat. Because these are in beta, the search functionality hasn't been turned on just yet for the new emoji.
That said, the new emoji cover a wide array of categories from animals to beverages but the overwhelming majority are to improve diversity. For instance, the Unicode consortium has added a ninja emoji, pinched fingers emoji, and a number of emoji related to activities such as feeding a baby or wedding-related emoji.
Each is offered in five skin tones, in addition to the standard yellow. Each also comes in both male and female variants.
The consortium has also tacked in a new bubble tea, anatomic heart, lungs, a boomerang, a black cat, a seal, a polar bear, a smiling face — with tear –, a 'disguised face', and more.
You'll need Android 11 to get these new Gboard Emoji
The sole prerequisite to getting access to the new emoji in one of the best keyboards around appears to be Android 11. That's hardly surprising since the emoji themselves are pulled down from the latest Unicode Emoji 13 update. And those are slated to land officially on the platform with Android 11. But the incoming firmware is still in beta. So chances are this update isn't going to do anything for most users.
In terms of when Android 11 is slated to arrive. That's also somewhat up-in-the-air. OEMs will need to push the updates and those are often delayed by carriers.
As of this writing, Google has launched Android 11 beta 1. That's a bug-filled early test build that's presently only available on select devices. And that follows three developer previews, which were pushed out starting back in February. Right now, the beta is only available for Google Pixel devices starting from the Google Pixel 2-series, the Oppo Find X2-series, Xiaomi Mi 10-series, OnePlus 8-series, and the Poco F2 Pro.
There are two more beta previews expected to land before the final release with the final release slated for Q3 2020.
That's going to severely limit who, exactly, can access these emoji right now.
Otherwise, getting the new emoji is simple
For those who are on the Android 11 beta program, accessing the new emoji is as straightforward as accessing the Gboard beta program. Users will need to navigate to the Google Play Store and then search for the keyboard app. Then they'll need to scroll down the page. Near the bottom, the store presents users with a sign-up card for the beta program.
That redirects out to a secondary site for those who haven't already signed up. But completing the process takes users back to the Play Store. Then, the card should be replaced by one that informs users they're part of the beta. They can remove themselves via a link on that same card if the beta seems too buggy.
After joining the beta program, users will have to wait up to several hours for the official update to arrive. That update will be presented just like any other, in the Google Play Store. Once installed, the new emoji should be in place.