Scribble Away! Gboard Brings Stylus Handwriting to Pixel, Samsung Tablets


Gboard, Google’s ubiquitous keyboard app, is taking a step towards penmanship in the digital age. Starting December 17th, 2023, Gboard is rolling out stylus handwriting recognition on select Android tablets, marking a significant shift in how users can interact with their devices.

Key Highlights:

  • Gboard’s handwriting recognition expands to tablets with stylus input.
  • Pixel and Samsung tablets are the first recipients, with broader rollout expected.
  • New “Write in text fields” feature replaces the traditional handwriting keyboard.
  • Improved accuracy and convenience for note-taking, sketching, and text input.

Previously, Gboard offered handwriting input primarily through a dedicated keyboard layout accessible when adding a language. However, this new update introduces a more seamless and contextual way to write directly within any text field. “Write in text fields,” a new menu option in Gboard settings, replaces the old keyboard layout and allows users to scribble directly on the screen with their stylus, converting their strokes into text on the fly.

This update is initially available on Pixel and Samsung tablets that support stylus input. While a broader rollout to other compatible devices is expected, specific timelines haven’t been confirmed by Google. The feature works with both active and passive styluses, making it accessible to a wider range of users and tablets.

Enhanced Accuracy and Convenience for the Note-Taking Generation

The new Gboard handwriting experience boasts improved accuracy and recognition compared to its predecessor. Google claims the system has been trained on millions of handwriting samples, leading to better understanding of various styles and even messy scribbles.

This update caters to a growing desire for pen-based interaction, particularly on tablets. For students, professionals, and artists alike, the ability to jot down notes, annotate documents, and even sketch directly on their devices becomes significantly more intuitive and fluid.

“This is a major step forward for Gboard and for tablet usability,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement. “We believe this will make tablets even more powerful and productive tools for our users, allowing them to express themselves in new ways.”

Beyond Words: Gboard’s Vision for Stylus Interaction

The introduction of stylus handwriting in Gboard is just the first step in Google’s vision for richer stylus interaction within the Android ecosystem. While details remain scarce, future updates could potentially include features like gesture recognition, handwriting-to-text shortcuts, and even stylus-driven navigation within apps.

Gboard’s expansion into stylus handwriting recognition marks a significant advancement in tablet functionality. With improved accuracy, intuitive input, and the potential for further development, this update opens up exciting possibilities for note-taking, creativity, and expression on Android tablets.

About the author


Jamie Davidson

Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done."