Android software support for tablets has come a long way, and the best apps for tablets today show what’s possible when developers prioritize this form factor. But typing on tablets has always been a bit of a chore — you’d think it would be easy with how much space we have, but poorly optimized interfaces have often wasted that opportunity. Fortunately, Google is making real efforts to improve things for tablets, as seen with the release of Android 12L this year. Now, the latest app to focus on larger screens is Gboard, which will hopefully make typing on tablets a little more convenient.
When you switch screen orientation, Gboard will normally expand the keyboard in portrait mode to use landscape. This made the keys wider, shorter and difficult to use efficiently — the height of the keyboard didn’t change either. 9to5Google has noticed that the new Gboard v12.3 beta has changed this behavior, making the keyboard and its keys taller in landscape orientation. The keys are now narrower and take the shape of longer rectangles, making them a little easier to type.
The old Gboard interface on Android tablets
With this new release, Gboard now looks a lot like a 60 percent keyboard for a PC: there are dedicated keys for Tab, Caps Lock, and Shift, with the same basic width as a physical keyboard. The Backspace, Enter/Search, and Shift keys on the right are also in the same position as before, but slightly higher. The Add characters button is wider and taller, but still on the left, next to the space bar.
The new Gboard interface on Android tablets
You’ll also notice that the comma and period keys have moved to the “M” next to the spacebar, where they normally reside on a regular keyboard. Their former home is now occupied by the left and right arrow keys, which are useful for editing text.
People who prefer a tablet to a laptop for working and typing on the go will appreciate this change, thanks to the commonality shared by conventional laptop and PC keyboards. This update is currently rolling out to beta testers, but you can jump in line and download the update from APKMirror. If the new layout or typing still doesn’t feel right on the touch screen, don’t hesitate to look into keyboard cases for your tablet.