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Windows Central readers largely say no to split-screen smartphone keyboards

Spanned apps on Surface Duo.
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

What you need to know

  • Google recently added split-screen support for Gboard beta on foldables like the Surface Duo.
  • We ran a poll over the weekend about how people use their smartphone keyboard, and over 93% pin their keyboard to the bottom of their phone's display.
  • Voters were more evenly split between tapping or swiping as an input method.

Google's Gboard beta recently gained support for split-screen typing on Surface Duo and other foldable. The addition sparked a discussion about how people use smartphone keyboards. Most of the best keyboard apps for Android support a variety of modes, such as pinned, floating, and split-screen. According to our poll from over the weekend, very few of our readers will take advantage of the new split-screen option for Gboard.

Almost 94% of voters said they prefer using a smartphone keyboard pinned to the bottom of their display. Split-screen mode drew the second-most votes, but it only accounted for 2.76% of participants.

We ran two polls about keyboards over the weekend and saw a more even split in the one about taping or swiping as an input method.

"I was a hard-core "physical keyboard only" smartphone user for a long time. Loved the Palm Treo's and then Pre for their keyboards with a touchscreen, then had an HTC Windows Phone with a physical keyboard," said GraniteStateColin in a forum post on our official Discord. "Thumb typing on a touchscreen is just too slow on touchscreen (unlike the physical keyboards), because in addition to being slow for only using 2 thumbs, it's also hugely error prone without the tactile feel of physical keys. But at some point swiping got good enough that it flipped this around for me."

GraniteStateColin added that the Duo's 3:2 aspect ratio helps with touchscreen typing as well.

45.82% of voters prefer tapping on their keyboards. Swiping came in last place in the poll, but still drew almost 24% of the votes. Around 30% of users swap between swiping and tapping depending on the situation.

Many that reached out on Discord have tried SwiftKey, which received some praise. Others prefer Gboard and will likely welcome the addition of split-screen support for Google's smartphone keyboard.

"I love swiping on Gboard, it's great. Although, I do still type regularly on a unified keyboard with two thumbs sometimes, it kinda depends," shared Bennytek on our Discord.

"I've tried SwiftKey in the past and I honestly just couldn't get used to it - maybe I should have spent a little more time with it, but I absolutely adore Gboard."

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.