You have probably heard of complaints and criticisms regarding the development pace of Wear OS, or rather the lack of it. Some feel that it doesn’t get as much love from Google and that Wear OS seems to exist only so that Google would have something to show for in the wearable market. Google hasn’t exactly abandoned it, as shown by the arrival of its Gboard virtual keyboard on Wear OS. Unfortunately, it also reveals exactly how long it took to make that happen.
One could definitely argue that a smartwatch is the worst screen to type on and might not need such a virtual keyboard anyway. That said, Gboard does also handle more than just finger typing but also voice typing, language selection, and, of course, emojis. Of course, Wear OS does have its own keyboard app but it’s pretty much a crude version of the AOSP keyboard on Android phones.
At long last, Wear OS is getting the keyboard experience that Android users have been enjoying on their phones, of course, fine-tuned for tiny, circular screens. The keys are spaced apart better but you’re more likely to swipe your way through words rather than peck at the letters. Of course, voice input is probably still more convenient and more recommended.
Despite the more spacious layout, Gboard on Wear OS still has room for important features, like a scrolling list of suggestions or corrections to what you just typed. There are also shortcuts for emojis and a language picker so that everything related to text communication is right under your fingertips.
Gboard on Wear OS will be rolling out in the coming days but Google suggests it’s just the tip of the iceberg. It has more in store this year, which hints that it has a lot more to announce at Google I/O later this month. Whether it continues that momentum throughout the rest of the year remains to be seen.