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Gboard could finally get an overdue feature for tablets, foldables

The likes of Samsung Keyboard and Swiftkey have split layouts, but Google could finally catch up soon.
By
March 18, 2022
Xiaomi Pad 5 Swiftkey split keyboard
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • References to a split keyboard layout have reportedly been found in Gboard.
  • This would be a major addition for foldable and tablet devices.

Gboard has been around for ages now, offering features like swipe typing, emoji/GIF search, one-handed mode, and theme support. One feature that’s been missing for a long time is a split layout though, being handy for tablets and foldables (or for those using their phones in landscape mode). This layout means you can comfortably reach all the letters when typing with two hands.

It’s a strange omission but Android Police has now spotted a reference to a split layout in the Gboard beta (version 11.5.05.427194903) on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Check out their screenshot below.

The reference mentions the ability to duplicate some keys when using the split keyboard layout in Gboard. The split layout itself isn’t available yet, however, but the mention essentially confirms that Google is indeed working to bring it to Gboard.

This would be a long-overdue and welcome move, as Galaxy Z Fold 3 owners are stuck with the default Samsung Keyboard (or third-party keyboards) if they want a split keyboard layout. In fact, this was one of the complaints we had in our Galaxy Z Fold 3 second-opinion review. This addition would also be great for tablets, giving users a more comfortable way to type with two hands without downloading third-party keyboards.

It wouldn’t be the only way Google caters to large-screen Android devices, as the company has also pushed out Android 12L recently. This Android update brings UI enhancements for big screens, a native taskbar, more intuitive split-screen multitasking, and several other tweaks.