It seemed for a time that emojis would be the new hieroglyphics that our descendants would scratch their heads for thousands of years in the future. These pictorial representations of emotions, people and objects are light, compared to GIFs and stickers, and are more common on platforms and devices thanks to the Unicode standard that is updated and expanded regularly. Unfortunately, smartphone platforms like Android are not always able to keep up with these changes, but Google may be paving the way to update emojis outside of the main Android OTA updates.
It may shock some people, but emojis are actually part of the Unicode standard, the specification that basically determines the symbols that will be universally accepted on computers. Yes, emojis are practically extensions of the same letters that make up the languages of the world and are therefore manipulated and displayed by the fonts of each operating system.
Fonts on Android, unfortunately, are not as flexible as their desktop counterparts. They reside in a read-only part of the operating system that can only be changed by a firmware update, which also requires a restart. Google generally expects major Android updates to include new emojis, meaning that Android users are often late to the party.
The XDA reports that there are some changes to the Android source code that suggest that Google may be moving fonts to another location. Specifically, the fonts, and therefore the emojis, can soon reside on the device’s data / partition which can be written by a system_server process. In other words, it may be possible in the future to have new emojis simply by updating the Google Play Store.
The site notes that the change is still in its early stages and may not even reach the next Android release. This change will not only affect emojis, of course, but it will also benefit the entire Android font system in general.