THE UNICODE CONSORTIUM, the group that oversees the standard encoding and handling of text input, has announced support for 250 additional Emoji emoticons.
Unicode version 7.0 will feature a range of 2,834 characters including a Russian Rouble and Azerbaijani Manat currency symbols and a range of "lesser-used and historic scripts".
Most of the Emoji symbols have come from existing Wingdings, Webdings and Truetype font symbols, but will be customised and tweaked by the art departments at organisations such as Apple and Google that use them in their applications.
Among the symbols are a "middle finger salute", as well as a "live long and prosper" gesture.
Others include "heart with tip on the left", "bullhorn with sound waves", and most intriguingly of all, "man with business suit levitating".
Even more incomprehensible entries include "cancellation X", "no piracy", "sleuth or spy" and "stadium", while many of the concepts on the list seem a little too complex to cram into a single character.
Full Emoji support is a rare thing. It is up to each operating system, manufacturer and software package as to how many and which symbols get the thumbs up, so if you find that your phone won't support the middle finger salute, you can't even send the maker the middle finger for not including the middle finger.
Swiftkey, the popular keyboard app for Android, recently became free of charge, and at the same time added support for 800 Emoji. Google Hangouts introduced them from launch last year, when it superceded its predecessor, Google Talk. µ