Gboard may soon add a split keyboard for tablets and foldables
If you have ever used Gboard in a landscape orientation or on a large screen tablet, you probably know the experience isn’t very nice. It’s the same story on foldable phones, with the stretched-out keyboard layout making it difficult to reach keys comfortably. But as part of its recent push to optimize Andriod apps for big screens, Google is now working on a new keyboard layout for Gboard.
The new layout that Gboard is testing divides the keyboard into two halves. This will make it faster and easier to input text without performing thumb gymnastics. The concept itself isn’t novel, as other keyboard apps, like the Samsung Keyboard and Microsoft’s Switfkey, have had a split keyboard for a while. Gboard is merely playing catch-up here.
An important distinction between Gboard and Samsung Keyboard’s split keyboard layouts is how they implement the spacebar. The Samsung Keyboard divides the space key so that each half has its own spacebar. Gboard, on the other hand, uses a long, undivided space key. Another notable difference is that Gboard’s layout duplicates certain keys on both sides, while Samsung Keyboard simply splits the layout in half.
Here are some screenshots shared by Twitter user @RKBDI showcasing the new split keyboard. Users will be able to enable the split layout from the three-dot menu once it rolls out with a future update.
Note that the new split keyboard hasn’t rolled out to users yet. The feature is currently hidden behind experimental flags and is not accessible to end-users. We don’t know when Google plans to roll it out to everyone. It’s also unclear whether it will be exclusive to foldable smartphones and tablets or available on standard phones as well.
Gboard has been working on the new split layout for quite some time now. The feature was first spotted back in March.