What you need to know
- Google has updated the Gboard app with a new layout for Android tablets.
- The update makes the keyboard app taller than before, and some keys have been rearranged.
- The new tablet layout is now available in beta, with a wider rollout expected in the coming weeks.
Google's Gboard app has adopted a smartphone-first layout over the past few years, though it appears that the search giant is now giving the same treatment to its version for larger screens. The latest Gboard update brings a tablet-friendly interface that should make typing on a large slate less of a headache.
The new Gboard layout for many of the best Android tablets is currently available in the beta channel (v12.3), as spotted by 9to5Google. Nonetheless, a broader rollout is expected in the coming weeks. The new interface makes the keyboard layout slightly taller than the previous version, with each key becoming more square rather than rectangular.
Furthermore, the new design adds more keys to the mix. For example, there's the Tab key in the upper left corner and the Caps Lock button right below it. Google has also added the left and right arrow keys beside the space bar.
Because of the new layout, some mainstay keys have been relocated. This means that the Comma and Period buttons have been moved to the right side of the M key, where they normally reside on physical keyboards. As a result, the Exclamation point and Question Mark keys are now tucked away within the button for special characters and numbers.
In addition, the dedicated Emoji button has been relocated to the left side of the space bar from its previous location on the right side.
In comparison to the previous layout, the new design should make it easier to tap keys on one of the best keyboard apps. However, in portrait mode, the buttons appear narrower than in the previous layout.
While the latest change is said to be available in beta, it doesn't appear to be available to all beta testers. The new layout is not accessible on the latest beta version of Gboard installed on one of our tablets running Android 12.
Google is rolling out the updated Gboard UI for tablets after launching a split-keyboard layout for foldables and tablets earlier this year. This move seems to be part of Google's renewed focus on tablets after years of neglect.
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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.