Early last month, Google updated their keyboard to version 5.0 where a bunch of new features were added: one-handed mode, optional key border just to name a few. But unfortunately this was not compatible with the Android N Preview.
With the release of Android N (now known as Nougat, need to get used to saying that) Preview 3, Google has fixed the issue and updated the it. The Preview includes Google Keyboard 5.1 images that only brings all of the new features found in 5.0 update to the N Preview 3. Plus additional features like all the new emojis, themes for the keyboard which will be brought to the Official Android Nougat later this year. It’s interesting that Google hasn’t created something similar to their GBaord Keyboard found on iOS.
Emojis, Emojis everywhere
We were promised by Google, that Android N was supposed to bring TONS of new emojis to Android. We got out first glimpse at the improved human-like emojis with the second N Preview, but the rest of the cutesy faces and graphics were still inaccessible. You could view them, but you couldn’t type them because the keyboard wasn’t yet updated to let you send them.
The all-new emojis, including those ones from Unicode 9.0, the skin-tones variants and the 70+ emojis which Google came up with and proposed to add to Unicode, will all be included in the Google Keyboard 5.1 image. (Prepare for a whole load of swiping action, as there will be a lot to choose from.)
Themes Glorious Themes
With the new update the Google Keyboard 5.1 will now include a section for themes. It displays the keyboard at the top in the centre with a toggle for the key borders, and then there is a grid view of the different coloured themes which you can apply to the keyboard. You will have a choice of 13 different colors combinations ranging from grey to black including the material white theme.
But if that doesn’t meet your customizing needs, then there is an options whereby you’ll be able to select a custom image for the keyboard’s background. If you chose this route then you be able to scale and drags the photo to fit the keyboard outline, with a black overlay of custom transparency on top of the image. This is pretty awesome if you ask me, especially if you choose a nice graphic!
Google Keyboard 5.1 is compatible with Android N, but we’ve also side-loaded it on Marshmallow and verified it to work there. Theoretically, it should work as far back as Android 4.2, so let us know if you have a Lollipop or Jelly Bean device and you get it installed there.
However, you’ll only get the themes on pre-N devices. That’s because the new emojis are part of the Android N system image and font, so just like you can’t view them on your Marshmallow devices and below, you also won’t be able to type them there. Not fun, I know.
Here’s the file on APK Mirror for all your side-loading pleasure.
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