Emoji: on Android smartphones we’ll be able to install as many as we want

Google is working on a new way to manage and install emoji on Android smartphones: no more need to update the operating system

No more waiting for emoji: in the future, Android smartphone users will be able to install images independently, without having to wait for the integration and update of their operating system. The anticipation comes from Google that, according to experts, is working on a system to solve the problem.

Over the years, the use of emoji has been perfectly integrated into the common language, so much so that it can completely replace the use of some expressions without losing intelligibility. The constant increase in the number of available emoji, added by Unicode, perfectly expresses their value within everyday speech. However, to be able to enter the everyday vocabulary, emoji must be added by the different operating systems, so that they can be used in messages exchanged on the network or through instant messaging applications.

Emoji on Android, how it currently works

As already mentioned, the system of updating the small images has been until now closely linked to the updates of the operating system. Currently, emoji on Android operating systems are saved in a file named NotoColorEmoji.ttf, placed in a partition of the system in the folder accessible by following the path /system/fonts.

Since this partition is read-only, it is not possible to update the file independently, but only through a system update to be done while the partition is not mounted. It therefore becomes clear that, in order to finally take advantage of the new sets of emoji on smartphones, it is necessary to refer to the official releases or - for the most daring or competent - to perform an operation through root.

Emoji on Android, what are the changes in place

From the commits made by Google and observed through Gerrit, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) dedicated to code review, some experts would have identified the processes necessary to separate the file linked to the emoji from the need for an operating system upgrade. Obviously, there is no official information yet but only some code comments that provide some information about it.

From these comments it is clear that the system_server acquires the ability to update the file, providing read and write permissions to the data partition. All applications will be able to modify the fonts and emoji file to add new icons without having to wait for the Android OS updates.

Emoji on Android, when will the ability to install them autonomously arrive

Since these are still commits and not official additions to the code, these changes may still take some time to be integrated. Despite this, there remains the hypothesis that the inclusion of emoji will be made available as early as the next major release of the operating system, namely Android 12, which is expected in the coming months.