Communicating via the written word can sometimes fail to communicate the nuances of human emotion. For those times, there are emoji — and now you can actually buy a dedicated hardware emoji keyboard to help.
The concept of an emoji keyboard is nothing new, for sure, but this is the first dedicated, self-contained emoji hardware keyboard we've seen that you can actually buy. Created by EmojiWorks, the Bluetooth keyboard allows you to hit an alternative Shift key to enter Emoji mode, and from there you can go mad with sad faces, tacos, unicorns or whatever else you like.
The keyboard will work with Mac OS X, iOS, and Windows. You will, however, need to install a small piece of dedicated software to have the keyboard work with your device. But don't worry if for some reason you have to switch to a different computer: you can, if the worst happens, still type in real letters.
For its part, EmojiWorks is certainly enthusiastic about the impact the device could have on your life. "You've been hunting emoji on your screen for years but now they're right on your keyboard," it enthuses. "Spend less time playing "find the emoji" and more time being awesome."
Quite. There are, in fact, three versions of the keyboard: the standard model (above), which features 47 emoji and costs $US80; the Plus, with 94 emoji, at $US90; and the Pro (below), with 120 emoji, at $US100. The keys on the final device looks bewilderingly crowded, but if you need fast access to emoji then we won't stop you.
You can pre-order the keyboard now, and they're planned to ship in December.