Today we learned that Windows 10 is getting a much overdue Emjoi makeover. In order to keep up with the ever-growing demands of expressive-casual communication, Windows 10 is beefing up its support of the emoji landscape. When Windows 10 finally drops later this summer, emoji fans will now be able to express themselves with newer skin tones, new facial expressions, and even ‘flip the bird’ to friends, family and possible ex-bosses.
Perhaps many of us associate emojis with messaging services like text, AIM, Facebook Messenger, and the occasional ‘winky face’ in the email. However, Windows has had a recent history of support for emojis system wide for some time now. Back in 2012 when Microsoft delivered the controversial Windows 8 installment, one of the overlooked additions of the Frankenstein OS was support for emojis. The initial limitations of Windows support may have been part of the reason it was overshadowed by the other shortcomings of Windows 8. In 2012, Windows 8 supported emojsi out of the box, but only in black and white. During the Windows 8.1 update in 2013, Windows finally gained the traditionally colored emojis. At the end of this summer, Windows 10 is expected to receive its first update to the emojis platform since 2013. In three years, a lot has happened in the world of emojis and the Windows team plans to bring all of that change into Windows 10 for users. Windows 10 will offer some changes to their current emoji line up as well as new expressions, characters, and images.
Gray is the new yellow
While Apple and Google opt for the more widely known shaded yellow-colored emojis by default, Windows 10 will offer gray. The default skin tone of emojis in Windows 10 will be gray-skinned. The Windows team is taking on board the Unicode recommendation that emoji people should be generic (nonhuman) in appearance. It looks a lot better than it sounds, but we’ll wait and see how people react to the new zombie looking ‘non-humans’.
Apple made a big splash in the news a few months ago by finally adding much-needed diversity in skin tones for emojis. Windows 10 will follow suit. The user will now be able to choose from a range of colors that start with gray to dark brown. Most emojis default to a bald emoji man as a nod to former CEO, Steve Ballmer. That was a joke. The Windows team explains, “Many human emoji in Windows use the bald man (?) character, which neatly avoids the issue of hair color altogether.”
Flipping the bird
Windows 10 will also bring the middle finger emoji. The middle finger emoji was approved as part of Unicode 7 back in 2014. While other OS’s like iOS, OSX and Android have shied away from using it, Windows 10 will offer it to the most expressive users of Windows later this year. The middle finger will follow suit in offering various skin tones.
The more subtle changes
The more commonly used expressive emojis are also receiving a makeover. Some emojis are meant to express a particular emotion but look nothing like the feeling. Windows 10 began tweaking some of those expressions to display more accurately the emotions.
Relieved Face loses its comical sheepishness, and now appears calmer with eyes closed, and a smile:
Confounded Face appears more annoyed than the previously high-eyebrowed appearance. Has an M-shaped mouth:
Face With Look Of Triumph now directly matches its counterpart from Apple and Google.
This is not what many would consider a triumphant appearance (appears to be in a frustrated huff, more than anything). It appears that conformity of cross-platform appearance has won out over the logic of the naming here:
Tired Face has lost its quiet yawn (which would have made for a good, sleepy face, and now appears tired, in the context of being fed up, or exhausted:
Face With Open Mouth And Cold Sweat now appears more upset than the previous happy-sweating face:
Face Screaming In Fear now has hands on either side of the face, more closely resembling the artwork from
Home Alone iOS and Android:
Flushed Face has shaded cheeks now, implied to be blushing, but using black-and-white striped circles instead of rosy-red cheeks:
Face With Medical Mask now replaces what might have been dust mask with a surgical /medical mask:
Information Desk Person now resembles Apple’s iconic version of this emoji, showing a woman with her hand out to one side. Often used as a sassy emoji, Microsoft ups the ante by giving her a wink. Too much?
Slightly Frowning Face and Slightly Smiling Face have been added in Windows 10. Approved as part of Unicode 7 in 2014, this pair are not available on prior versions of Windows, nor iOS, OS X, or Android:
Raised Hand With Part Between Middle And Ring Fingers (aka the Vulcan Salute) has been added to Windows 10. Only just beaten to the punch by Apple in its 2015 Emoji Update:
Raised Hand With Fingers Splayed looks like a person holding up the number five on one hand. Included for the first time on Windows 10:
Haircut now displays a woman having her hair cut, instead of scissors and a comb standing alone:
As Windows 10 shapes up to be a continual work in progress (as should all tech), there are some missing items that the Windows 10 hopes to address in updates. At the time of this release Windows still will still be missing support for icon flags for:
Further reading: Emoji, Microsoft, Vulcan, Windows 10
Also missing is the support for various family and partner combinations. Same-gender parenting and or couples are still not present.