Android 4.4 KitKat appears to be a much-larger update than many expected, and one of its most-interesting features is the introduction of a full emoji keyboard.
Before Android 4.4, which is currently available only on the recently released Nexus 5 smartphone, the emoji keyboard was mostly associated with the iPhone and iOS operating system. Android users could only access emojis through third-party keyboards; however, when texting an emoji from an iPhone to an Android phone, emojis wouldn't show up on Android’s noncompatible messenger. And, until the release of KitKat, the only way to successfully share emojis across platforms was through third-party apps like Google Hangouts.
Android users now have “emoji everywhere,” according to Google. While only Nexus 5 currently has the update, the OS is expected to roll out on other Google-branded devices, including the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, as well as the Google Play editions of Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One.
There is one Nexus device -- the Galaxy Nexus -- that won't get the emoji keyboard since it's not updating to Android 4.4 KitKat. The Galaxy Nexus is incompatible with Android 4.4 because it includes a chip manufactured by Texas Instruments, which no longer develops smartphone chips.
Other devices expected to update to Android 4.4 KitKat include the Moto X, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini. In addition, Google’s “Project Svelte” has optimized Android 4.4 to be compatible with a host of devices, including those with as little as 512MB RAM. This means many low-end devices will also have the opportunity to update to Android 4.4; however, it's still ultimately up to OEMs to decide which devices will get the update.
Currently, many of the most-popular devices on the market are beginning to roll out Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. So it may be months before many market favorites update to Android 4.4.
Are you glad Android 4.4 KitKat includes an emoji keyboard? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.