Unicode Consortium delays new emoji because of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted a lot, from businesses to supply chains to schools. We're learning today that the outbreak will even impact the roll out of new emoji, with the Unicode Consortium announcing this week that Unicode Standard version 14 will be delayed by six months next year, moving its release from March to September 2021.

That, unfortunately, means that we'll waiting a while for a new batch of emoji as well. The Unicode Consortium made it clear that this decision won't impact the new emoji that are included in Unicode Standard version 13, which were previewed in January and then confirmed in March – those will still be rolling out on time.

With the delay of version 14, though, comes a delay of that version's new batch of emoji. The Unicode Consortium says that it will move back the deadline for new emoji proposal to September 2020 as well, so we probably won't learn of Unicode 14's new emoji until sometime next year.

In a blog post, the Unicode Consortium says that it is considering releasing new emoji sequences while we wait for Unicode 14. This would give the emoji enthusiasts of the world something to bridge the gap without requiring a ton of resources, as the sequences would merely be combinations of existing emoji. Those sequences would be released as Emoji 13.1, and if the Unicode Consortium determines to move forward with that idea, we'd see them land on phones in 2021.

In the end, though, we'll just have to wait and see what Unicode Consortium thinks it can handle during these unique times. After all, as the Consortium points out, each new version of Unicode relies heavily on the work of volunteers, many of whom have a lot of their plates at the moment. We'll see what happens from here, but for now, it sounds like we'll be waiting some time for new emoji after Unicode 13.