The first Arabic emoji and sticker app Halla Walla in the UAE will launch on February 22 in order to allow consumers to express Arab and Khaleeji lifestyles in photos and chats on iMessage as well as gifs on both Android and iOS handsets.
Roughly translating into ‘what’s up,’ Halla Walla aims to incorporate glimpses of Middle Eastern culture and translate them into the tech age through relatable characters, nostalgic themes and playful gifs.
It can be used by both Arabic and English-speaking consumers in either language.
“We wanted to create something that we know well and give the Khaleeji culture a boost through our creativity. When it came to representing the modern Middle Eastern voice, we felt there was a real gap in social messaging platforms,” said co-founder Yasmine Rasool.
“From our loud families, endless cousin gatherings and shared meals, to signature phrases, fashion statements, football, shisha and late night shawarma runs – our lives are brimming with inside jokes and over the top emotions that needed a platform to be expressed,” she added.
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Co-founder Eriko Varkey said Arabs have such a rich culture, but no emoticon to express online.
“In any situation – we use hand gestures, which are laden with emotion. So, to express that stress to hurry up when you are waiting hours for your friend to meet you at the coffee shop - what better way than by screaming ‘yalla!’? Hence the reason why Halla Walla was born.”
The keyboard emoji on iOS and Android and sticker pack will be available on itunes and google store.