The medical mask emoji.
Emojipedia/Charlie Floyd/Business Insider
  • No new emoji will be coming out next year because of knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit responsible for releasing standardised sets of emoji for Android and iOS, says it is postponing submissions of emoji for its 14.0 release by six months.
  • Still, 117 new emoji are already scheduled to come to phones this year.
  • Visit Business Insider South Africa's homepage for more stories.

One knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic is that 2021 will be bereft of new emoji.

The nonprofit that releases standardised sets of emoji for Android and iOS on Wednesday said it was postponing the release of its next set of standards by six months to September 2021.

The delay will affect "related specifications and data, such as new emoji characters," the Unicode Consortium said.

As Unicode explained in its post, emoji that are approved by the consortium in January generally don't make it onto phones until about September. The new six-month delay pegs the deadline for Unicode 14.0 emoji submissions to September 2021 - meaning approved new emoji won't see the light of day until 2022.

"Under the current circumstances we've heard that our contributors have a lot on their plates at the moment and decided it was in the best interests of our volunteers and the organizations that depend on the standard to push out our release date," the consortium's president, Mark Davis, said in a statement. "This year we simply can't commit to the same schedule we've adhered to in the past."

Jeremy Burge, an emoji historian who is the head of Emojipedia, tweeted that while no new emoji had officially been allocated for 14.0, provisional candidates included "crow," "cooking pot," and "finger heart."

The consortium said there could be a limited release of new emoji based on those already released in 13.0, but this isn't certain.

Still, 117 new emoji are coming to phones later this year as part of Unicode's 13.0 standard, which gained approval in January.

New emoji on the way for 2020 include bubble tea, the transgender flag, and a woolly mammoth. These emoji are likely to start appearing on phones in the second half of this year.

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