Audience

Summary

This article details how to install the third party OpenBoard keyboard as a replacement for the default Google Gboard keyboard on GMS devices. The main advantages of OpenBoard are that it does not contain shortcuts to any Google apps , has no communication with Google servers and is open source and licence free to use.

Overview

OpenBoard is a third party utility open source ( supported by the developer rather than Zebra ) available on the Play store ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.dslul.openboard.inputmethod.latin ). Source code is available here:  https://github.com/dslul/openboard. It has no Google dependencies and no shortcuts to Google apps which makes it more suitable for an enterprise deployment than the default Gboard keyboard. Assuming a device has network connectivity , Gboard will communicate with Google servers by default as detailed here ( https://www.guidingtech.com/stop-gboard-collecting-personal-data/ ) and has to be manually configured to disable this functionality. Replacing Gboard with OpenBoard will avoid this issue while still providing a fully functional on-screen keyboard which looks and operates in a very similar way to the default AOSP keyboard.

Installation

OpenBoard can be installed via Play or using the StageNow barcode below ( device requires a pre-configured internet connection before reading this code) :

open_keyboard

This profile will download and install OpenBoard and configure it as the default keyboard using Mx UIMgr. It will also disable Gboard using AppMgr so that it is not available for selection as an input method via the keyboard icon.

 

The component files and XML used in the profile are available here:  https://znordic.net/hatton/open_keyboard.zip

 

Usage

OpenBoard will be the default onscreen keyboard after installation and additional configuration can be made manually via the settings which are available using the OpenBoard program icon. This icon can be added to the Enterprise Home Screen allowed apps list in order to allow user access only to the keyboard configuration .

By default the keyboard layout will match the system language (all available languages are supported) but specific languages can also be enabled if required. Text correction can be configured off if preferred (default is on) and the theme used for the keyboard can be changed from default (Material Dark Border) to another option from the list of available themes.

 

Material Dark Border                                    Material Light Border

 

Selection of alternative language keyboards is available via long pressing the space bar to access the selection menu: