Yesterday, Google released an awesome new keyboard for iOS named Gboard. It’s great, I’ve been using it ever since I wrote the news, and it’s actually one of the only third-party keyboards I’ve stuck with for more than a few minutes. The typing could be better, sure, but the embedded search function is genius. It’s superb for quickly sending an address, a photo, a GIF or anything else you can find in Google. And yet, it must be awfully frustrating for Android fans to see it released on a competing platform, one they seem to hate more and more every day.
I think I have an idea why.
Google has some great iOS apps, fantastic even, but it usually starts things off on Android and then kicks it over to the iPhone. This time it just made the keyboard available on the iPhone right away, instead of making it an option on Android. My guess, and it’s totally a guess, is that Google was able to whip up something really quickly for the iPhone and then get a fast impression on what the world thought of it. For Android, it has to take into consideration a larger array of screen sizes, resolutions and other aspects that have frustrated developers.
I think that’s probably why it went to the iPhone first, though I’m not certain. Google could have avoided that situation by seeding it to Nexus devices, or maybe in a smaller open beta test on Android. That would have appeased fans of the company’s mobile operating system who, understandably, are probably scratching their heads at Google’s move.
The good news is that Google says an Gboard for Android is in development. I bet it speeds up that process now that it sees how quickly folks adopted and praised the iPhone version. Google I/O may be too soon for an Android release, though, so maybe we’ll see it shortly thereafter.