After two high-profile changes last week, the latest beta of Google’s Android keyboard is rolling out. Gboard 9.3 reveals work on an Emoji bar and new/tweaked light theme.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Emoji bar

Today, emoji is available through the dedicated keyboard that’s accessible by tapping the smiley face next to the spacebar, or in the suggestions strip.

Gboard 9.3 reveals work on an “Emoji bar” that provides access to what Google describes as your “favorite emojis.” This is not meant to replace the full picker, and different from the current option to show emoji in the suggestions strip of the symbols keyboard. It will appear directly on the “typing keyboard.” We’ve yet to enable what it looks like in practice.

<string name=”fast_access_bar_intro_1″>Introducing the Emoji bar! Access your favorite emojis instantly</string>

<string name=”fast_access_bar_intro_2″>Get to all your other emoji by tapping the emoji icon</string>

<string name=”fast_access_bar_intro_3″>Swipe to access emoji bar settings to remove</string>

<string name=”fast_access_bar_open_settings”>Remove bar</string>

<string name=”setting_enable_fast_access_bar_summary”>Fast access bar on the typing keyboard for popular emojis.</string>

New light theme + rounded corners

Version 9.3 reveals work on a new — or tweaked — “Colors” theme for Gboard. There are currently 18 of these defaults, with this “Redesign Light Theme” devoid of color. The blue or green enter key is dropped, while the background is brighter and the keys slightly darker to help contrast.

<string name=”kb_theme_google_redesign_light”>Redesign Light Theme</string>

This new theme also reveals subtly rounded corners for the key pane. It visually distinguishes the keyboard from the suggestions strip.

How to update?

You can sign up for Gboard’s beta program here or by heading to the Play Store listing on Android and scrolling to the bottom. The latest beta version of Gboard is immediately rolled out by Google when it’s available.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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