The Unicode version 12.0 was released in March 2019. This version of the Unicode standard adds 554 new additional characters from a total of 137,928 characters. These new additional characters include 61 new emoji characters and 4 new scripts from a total of 150 scripts. The inclusion of these new scripts and characters adds support for unique written languages and lesser-used languages worldwide. These additional scripts and characters include:
Nandinagri: which was used historically to write Sanskrit and Kannada in most of Southern India.
Elymaic: which was historically used to write the Aramaic in the southwest of Iran.
Mia script: to write Miao and Yia dialects in China.
Wancho: Which is used to write the modern Wancho language in Bhutan, Myanmar, and India.
Nyiakeng Hmong: which is used to write green Hmong and white Hmong in Thailand, France, Vietnam, Australia, United States, and Canada.
Some popular symbol additions include sixty-one new emoji symbol characters, Marca registrada sign, and Heterodox and fairy chess symbols. And support for lesser-used languages includes Lao letters used to write Pali, Latin letters, Tamil historic fractions and symbols, Hiragana and Katakana letters, and Hieroglyph format controls. This version of the Unicode standard was synchronized with ISO/IEC 2017 with amendments from 1 and 2 as well.
The Unicode version 12.1 was made official in May 2019. This version of the Unicode standard has only one additional character from its previous version. Version 12.1 adds only one character for a total of 137,929 characters. The new additional character which is added to this version is U+32FF square era name reiwa. This single character enables the software to be updated rapidly for the support of the new Japanese era in terms of date formatting. The new Japanese era was announced officially in April 2019 and was in use in May 2019.
This version of the Unicode is very similar to version 12.0. But it has a few changes accommodating the era of names of characters. Data files of this version were updated to conclude the U+32FF. No other significant changes were made in the core specifications of version 12.1. The only change is the addition of a new Japanese era. This additional character will have some effect on the date formatting and calendric systems, instead of the CJK unified ideographs. The U+32FF has a similarity with the sequence of two unified ideographs, so it will have an impact on the normalization tables of Unicode.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Unicode 12.0 and 12.1
Both of these versions of the Unicode standard have a lot of advantages with some slight disadvantages. Following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both versions:
The Unicode version 12.0 came up with 554 new characters in its character set. These additional characters are emoji new historic and modern scripts. These scripts support very unique and rare languages of the world. Version 12.1 also featured a new additional character. This character is the U+32FF Japanese era name character. This is also a big advantage to this version. But this version was released with lesser updates and changes, which is a disadvantage for this version.