What you need to know
- Google has been spotted working on a new Gboard app layout.
- The upcoming split mode divides the keyboard into two halves to make typing on foldable phones easier.
- It is currently being tested and is not yet available to end users.
One of the most frustrating aspects of using a large-screen device like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the awkward typing experience unless you use the dedicated Samsung Keyboard app. For Gboard fans, Google may have a solution coming down the pipeline.
Gboard could soon make typing on foldable phones and tablets much easier. Twitter user Radek Błędowski has shared a couple of screenshots of Gboard's new split layout, which is currently in development (via Mishaal Rahman).
It divides the keyboard into two halves, replacing the current stretched-out interface that makes it difficult to reach keys, especially when typing in landscape mode on a big display. The split layout places the keyboard on opposite sides of the screen.
When it becomes available to everyone, you can access it by tapping the three-dot menu in the top row.
While Gboard is not the first keyboard app to offer this option, Google's implementation has some interesting quirks. Some keys, such as the "G" and "V" keys, are duplicated on both sides, as shown in the screenshot below.
Samsung Keyboard users will also notice a curious implementation of the spacebar in Gboard's split mode: it spans the gap. On the other hand, the Samsung Keyboard app divides the spacebar into two halves, making it the only key that is duplicated on both the left and right sides.
However, the split mode is not currently available to end-users. It's also unclear when the new layout option will be added to one of the best keyboard apps for Android.
Nonetheless, it signals Google's growing emphasis on big-screen devices after years of refusing to optimize apps for large displays.
The upcoming Gboard layout is said to be aimed first at foldable devices before making its way to many of the best Android tablets. It makes sense given that Google has already confirmed that a Pixel-branded tablet will be released in 2023.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.