Japanese networks team up to standardise emoticons

24 Apr 2012

Image source: KDDI

Three of Japan’s biggest mobile networks plan to standardise the appearance of emoticons – called ’emoji’ in Japan – across mobile devices offered on their networks.

Asiajin reports that NTT Docomo, KDDI and eAccess will team up to standardise these icons for their combined subscriber base of 90m people.

Before, when one user sends a message with an emoji to another on a different network, the image is often not correctly displayed. This deal will ensure all of these icons are the same across their devices.

KDDI and eAccess will develop more than 200 new characters to match NTT Docomo’s extensive emoji library. However, mobile network Softbank will not join the other carriers, as it believes its current icon set is already compatible with other handsets.

The use of emoji is particularly popular in Japan, with some even blaming the iPhone’s slow start in 2008 in the country to the lack of emoji support.

The first mobile phones with this new system are expected to arrive during the summer.