Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unicode Version 6.0: Support for Popular Symbols in Asia

The newly finalized Unicode Version 6.0 adds 2,088 characters, with over 1,000 new symbols.

A long-awaited feature of Unicode 6.0 is the encoding of hundreds of symbols for mobile phones. These emoji characters are in widespread use, especially in Japan, and have become an essential part of text messages there and elsewhere. Unicode 6.0 now provides for data interchange between different mobile vendors and across the internet. The symbols include symbols for many domains: maps and transport, phases of the moon, UI symbols (such as fast-forward) and many others.

A late-breaking addition is the newly created official symbol for the Indian rupee. With the help of the Indian government and our colleagues in ISO, the consortium was able to accelerate the encoding process. Once computers and mobile phones update to the new version of Unicode, people will be able to use the rupee sign like they use $ or € now.

This October 2010 release includes the Unicode Character Database (UCD), Unicode Standard Annexes (UAXes), and code charts. With the release of these components, implementers are able update their software to Unicode 6.0 without delay. The final text of the core specification will be available in early 2011.

To access Unicode 6.0, see http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode6.0.0.

For more information on emoji, see http://unicode.org/faq/emoji_dingbats.html

For a formatted version of this message with images, see http://unicode.org/press/pr-6.0.html.