Playful texting icons 'emojis' are all the rage among smartphone users
Sydney, Dec 11 (ANI): More elaborate cousins of emoticons, 'emojis', are becoming more and more popular among smartphone users.
Instead of typing a plain simple text message, people are now resorting to sending a cartoony picture of their message.
"Instead of saying 'I love you,' I'll just use a heart," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a student at Berkeley College in New York as saying.
"Or when I'm writing 'LOL,' I'll put a laughing-crying face instead."
Emoji are those creative combinations of colons, parentheses and other punctuation that people use to drop a facial expression into a text message or email.
Unlike emoticons, emoji don't require tilting your head sideways to make sense of the image. They are a kind of pictorial alphabet stored on a phone that can be displayed in place of the regular keyboard, making it easy to tap out a visual message.
Outside their native Japan, emoji have been available to in-the-know smartphone owners for some time via add-on applications. But now they may be on the verge of going mainstream, thanks in part to Apple's latest update to its iPhone software. The latest version, iOS 5, comes with an installed library of emoji that can be turned on as an 'international keyboard' in the device's settings.
A 39-year-old lawyer in Oklahoma City, who was familiar with using such elaborate emoticons in email services such as Gmail, said they were an entertaining way to communicate with his nine-year-old son.
The lawyer revealed that he and his son often use pictures of tiny footballs or basketballs as they trade banter about sports and coming games.
"It's just fun," he said.
"And it lets you convey a little more emotion or feeling in messages."
Cellphone carriers initially added the images to differentiate their phones from those of rivals, and they caught on as an efficient way to quickly express a specific thought, mood or joke. (ANI)
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