Google Gboard testing split keyboard option for foldable phones

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Samsung Foldables
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Gboard, a virtual keyboard app developed by Google for Android, is reportedly rolling out a split keyboard option, offering a benefit to users of foldable phones.

According to a report, this feature will arrive with the beta version 11.9.04. The split keyboard mode is not new for Z Fold users, who are offered this feature on the Samsung keyboard software. However, for Android users who prefer Gboard’s typing interface and auto-correct features, the new split keyboard mode will be an added benefit.

To use the split keyboard in Gboard, users will need to press the relevant icon on the “toolbar” at the top of Gboard. This will make the keyboard split in half, and a symbol that can bring the two halves back together will take its place, according to a report.

With the keyboard divided in half, all of the keys are considerably closer to the sides of the foldable phone, where users thumbs may naturally rest when holding the device. Users can visit the app’s page in the Google Play Store on their smartphone to sign up for the beta if they want to try it out for themselves.

At its May 2016 launch on iOS, Gboard app only supported the English language, while it supported more than 100 languages at the time of its launch on the Android platform. As of October 2019, it supports 916 languages.

Last month, Google announced that it is working on a new keyboard layout for Gboard. The new layout that Gboard is testing divides the keyboard into two halves to make it faster and easier to input text without performing a thumb exercise.

Along with the split keyboard layout, Gboard is also working on Emoji Kitchen suggestions in the predictive text bar on the stable channel. According to sources, the suggestions appear when users type a message with the “Emoji stickers” feature enabled.

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