The Unicode Consortium is finally listening to Apple and Google after the respective tech giants asked for diverse skin tones to be added to the available emojis on mobile devices. As more icons have become inclusive, the handshake emoji remained unchanged—until now.
Rolling out sometime in 2022, Emoji 14.0 will include a new handshake character that will allow users to modify the skin tones of both the left and right hands for a total of 25 different combinations. This now will ensure that those who live the “text life” will have much more flexibility when it comes to reflecting who the user is having a conversation with.
Patient mobile users have been waiting for this moment for quite awhile. In a piece featured on The Next Web, Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge broke down the process for how long it actually takes for these sorts of innovations to happen. From start to finish, Burge noted, these emoji creations can take as much as two full years to be completed. Specifically with the handshake, the challenge that needed to be overcome was that the emoji involves two people.
What made the handshake particularly challenging is that it involves two people. The Unicode Consortium could have updated it earlier, but a limitation in its modifier coding would have had the hands sharing the same skin tone. And while some platforms adopted that approach, most decided to wait until Unicode added support for mixed skin tones. The organization has been building out that functionality since the release of Emoji 12.0. Add COVID-19 to the mix and the Unicode Consortium was faced with an impactful delay leading to Emoji 14.0, after originally being planned for update in 2019 by Google’s creative director for emoji, Jennifer Daniel.
Now that things are back on track, you should see the emoji on your phone sometime next year.