Finally, Google’s dedicated keyboard has been released for Android TV users running Android O. The app is now available in the Play Store for Android O users to download, but there is a little strange as it is also compatible with older non-Android O users of the platform. Moreover, the version on the Play Store only works with the x86 Android TV device running Android O, like the Nexus Player, which certainly makes the rest of the Android TV users disappointed. However, if you are not currently seeing Gboard pop up, you can still download the APK file to install it.
The changes between the new Gboard and the previous Leanback keyboard for Android TV are not too much. There are only some visual differences. The first one is the space bar as it is no longer at the bottom of the keyboard. It has now been moved to the side and stayed near the Delete button, Search button, and Arrow buttons. For the Search button, on the old Leanback keyboard, it was listed as the actual word, and now on the new Gboard, it turns into a magnifying glass icon.
Besides, the color of the new Gboard keyboard has been changed as it’s slightly darker, and the clear separators also appear between the different sections of the keyboard, including the letters, numbers, and the right side buttons containing the arrow keys. On the left of the keyboard you can now find the button to transition to the numerical keyboard. As it’s currently only compatible with x86 on Android O, so the APK might not work for users using a device that isn’t running an x86 Android version. Until now, it’s not clear if Google intends to release the Gboard keyboard for non-Android O devices, though there is not any reason as to why Gboard is not made widely for more Android TV devices.