Foldable phones just got a useful upgrade from Google

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
(Image credit: Future)

Foldable phones are great tools for productivity, but mainstream apps don't always play nicely with them. Google is seeking to change that, in the form of a split-screen keyboard for Gboard.

The beta update is designed to solve the hassle of typing on the best foldable phones, splitting the keyboard in half and placing the keys on either side of the screen, near where the thumbs rest naturally if they're gripping the device. 

It's a useful change that should make it much easier to type on the huge displays found on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Microsoft Surface Duo 2 — although it's worth pointing out that Samsung already has a keyboard app that offers a split screen feature for its Fold lineup.

The beta update, which was first spotted in the GalaxyFold subreddit and picked up on by Android Central, has had something of a soft roll out — to the extent that it's not that easy to get hold of. If you want to try it, you'll need to enroll in the beta by visiting the app’s page on the Google Play Store, then wait for it to arrive on your device.

Once you get it, you'll be able to swap between the split-screen mode, the standard keyboard, and the “floating keyboard” mode that can be moved around the screen.

It's a small change, then, but it does indicate Google’s seemingly renewed focus on large screen devices such as tablets and foldable phones. At Google I/O 2022 in May, Google gave us a glimpse of its upcoming Pixel Tablet, but sadly there's still no word on when — or whether — the rumored Google Pixel Fold will appear.

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.