Google launched the third Android N Developer Preview today as part of their Google I/O announcements on day 1. Part of the new developer preview also saw a new version of the Google Keyboard, which brings it to version 5.1. The keyboard, while being part of Android N, does work with other versions of Android. We’ve been able to test it on the LG G5 which is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it works fine. We are unsure of what the minimum version of Android is needed, but it does work on at least Android 6.0.
It’s a pretty small update, all things considered. The only new feature that is in the keyboard is themes. This is a feature that has been heavily requested for quite a while, and Google finally brought the feature to their own keyboard. There are 12 additional keyboard themes included, along with the ordinary white colored theme that has been in Google Keyboard forever. There’s pink, black, dark material, brown, a few shades of green and blue, and bright orange. There is also the ability to use your own image as a background for the keyboard. Choosing your own picture allows you to adjust how transparent the keyboard is over the background image.
In order to change the theme, you’ll need to do some digging in settings. Essentially you’ll need to go to Settings, tap on Languages & Input, then Virtual Keyboard and choose Google Keyboard. From there you will see all of the Google Keyboard options that are available, with the third option being “Theme”.
This isn’t a huge update, compared to what we got in v5.0 that launched just a few weeks ago, but it’s a feature that many of us had been waiting on. So it’s nice to see it finally come to the Google Keyboard. As mentioned already, this version does work on devices that aren’t running the Android N Developer Preview. And we do have the APK available. Hit the button below, and you’ll be able to sideload it onto your device. Of course, you will need to make sure that “Unknown Sources” is enabled before it will install properly.Download: Google Keyboard v5.1