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Google May Separate Emoji Updates From Major Android Releases

google emoji updates
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A new report by XDA suggests Google may soon separate emoji updates from major Android OS releases. Notably, this means in order to get new emojis, users won’t have to wait for an OS upgrade.

Be it Google or Apple, new emojis have become one of the highlights and integral part of Android or iOS firmware updates. Emojis help us share our emotions more expressively.

These tiny assets add more weight to our words when we communicate via text. Over the past few years, OEMs have been growing their arsenal by adding new emojis or updating the existing ones.

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However, to get our hands on new emojis, we need to wait for an OS upgrade, before we can make them a part of our conversations.

This could be fine for the Google Pixel owners, as they are always first in line to receive major OS updates. The reason is simple, being a Google phone.

On the contrary, other smartphone OEMs’ pace in rolling out Android updates, although has improved, is still not at par with Google Pixel devices.

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Thankfully, Google may have found a solution to alter this dynamic. We may soon see Google pushing out emoji and system font updates via Play Store instead of bundling them with Android OS updates.

New commits spotted at the AOSP Gerrit, decouple font files away from OS upgrade

As spotted by XDA, new commits at the AOSP Gerrit will allow fonts and emojis to be updated without needing the entire system to be upgraded.

Note that Emojis are system fonts in Android and are currently stored in the system partition. To be more specific, the path is /system/fonts directory.

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Emojis are present within the file called NotoColorEmoji.ttf. Since the system partition is read-only, it requires a system update to update any file stored within the partition.

This puts a certain limitation. Because, to get our hands-on newly updated emojis, we have to wait for an official OS update. There is an alternate way to it, which requires you to have root access.

So, this idea of Google to decouple the emojis and fonts from system updates could very well benefit in rolling out new updates. As for the alternate option to OS update, there is one realistic option, i.e. Play Store updates.

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Recently, Google has been rolling out much of Android’s core features via the Play Store updates. Adding fonts and emojis to this list would make it easier for Google to push out new updates.

Currently, there is no information as to when Google will implement these changes. We assume that the soonest we will see these new changes come into effect would be Android 12.