We already reported this in March Google is working on a virtual split-screen keyboard, Gboard, for larger, foldable screens. At the time, the giveaway was a toggle on the Gboard beta (version 11.5.05.427194903) that had a very interesting description that read, “Plan the split to include duplicate buttons that can be toggled on or off.” Now there’s a development in this story – a few screenshots of the alleged Gboard split keyboard have been posted online by a Twitter user Tweet embed. Looking at the screenshots, it looks like this Google uses the traditional method of sliding the keyboard into two identical halves and repeating a few characters (as mentioned in the previous leak).
The concept of a split virtual keyboard is not at all new. Both Samsung and Microsoft have used the splitting option in their keyboard apps at some point, and while there are some minor differences (Samsung splits the space bar in half while Gboard has it as a single piece), the idea remains the same.
There is no information on a possible rollout or anything official for that matter. It’s safe to say that this option will be available via the points menu in the Gboard app (you can see the button below the menu in one of the screenshots), but at the moment there are no users who have this feature enabled, not even in the beta version.
Targeting tablets and foldable devices
Anyone who has tried to type on a horizontal virtual keyboard knows how difficult the task can be. This difficulty increases exponentially with screen size, and the fact is that you can’t hold a 10-inch tablet and type with both hands without doing some (if any) serious manual exercise.
The condition of the foldable devices is a bit odd, even big guns like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 aren’t wide enough to cause problems in landscape or otherwise. However, splitting the keyboard between the folded halves may make sense, as users (for whatever reason) can type on a partially folded device.
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Google Pixel Fold Tips?
Another elusive conclusion from this leak may be that Google is preparing software support for its upcoming foldable device – the Pixel Fold. The news came yesterday The company has canceled the device for the second time, the alleged reason being that the phone is not good enough for an official launch.
Another leak on the matter occurred earlier this month from a popular display industry analyst Ross Young From the DSCC Research Store. according to youth Pixel Fold could be more compact and foldable – like this Oppo Find N instead of following the path of Galaxy Fold.
If that’s really the case, it’s unlikely that Gboard’s split keyboard news is related to the Pixel Fold, and the new software feature will mostly cater to Android tablets.
Back to Gboard! It would be interesting to see if such a feature is needed. Have you ever used a virtual split keyboard on a big screen device? How was the experience? Enter your thoughts in the comments below (on a regular or split keyboard).
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