Samsung may have a big year ahead of it with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9, but we’re more excited about it finally redesigning its emojis. The company has begun rolling out Samsung Experience 9.0 and, while there are many different improvements that come along with the Android Oreo update, one of the most welcome is Samsung conceding that some of its existing emoji designs were just… wrong.
It was a fairly odd situation. Obviously there’s a standardized set of emojis out there – otherwise one device wouldn’t know what to show when another device sent it a message. However, while you might expect, say, the “eyeroll” emoji to look the same across every platform, that’s not actually the case.
Instead, it’s been up to individual companies to choose their own designs for each emoji type. Some end up looking unsurprisingly similar – like a smiling face – but others can vary considerably. At best, that’s a neat distinction based on platform. At worst, it can be downright confusing.
The Samsung rolling eyes emoji was an excellent example of that. Pretty much other company illustrated that with a vaguely exasperated or unimpressed face, its eyes rolled back to signify its frustration. Until now, though, Samsung’s version has looked positively enthusiastic, complete with a half-smile and some jaunty eyebrow action.
While you might not think that’s a big deal, it can seriously change the interpretation of a message sent between platforms. An iPhone user texting a Galaxy S9 user, for example, might intend the rolling eyes emoji as they see it in iOS, as a sign of annoyance. However, the S9 would show it according to Samsung’s graphics, with a completely different feel.
It’s not the only big difference, either. In Samsung Experience 8.5, the “gun” emoji was a realistically represented revolver. In Samsung Experience 9.0, however, it’s being changed to a far more playful water pistol. Samsung is also changing the default skin tone to the bright yellow that Unicode recommends, Emojipedia reports.
Overall, Samsung’s modifications to its emojis have had the effect of bringing them more in line with what other companies are offering. Again, that just serves to better harmonize cross-platform chat, and make it more likely that your contacts will get the subtext you’re trying to express.
As for when you’ll actually get Samsung Experience 9.0, of course, that’s a question we don’t quite know the answer to. Samsung began rolling out its Android Oreo update in Germany recently, but hasn’t given a specific roadmap for when it might arrive on other phones. We should see it preloaded on the new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at Mobile World Congress 2018, however, later in February.