Take a peek at how Android will work on the Surface Duo

Take a peek at how Android will work on the Surface Duo
With the dual-screened Surface Duo expected to be available in time for the 2020 holiday shopping season, Microsoft needs developers to make sure that their Android apps can adapt to the unusual form factor. The device comes with two 5.6-inch displays each with a resolution of 1350 x 1800. When opened fully, the two screens together make up an 8.3-inch screen. To help these developers test and optimize their apps, Microsoft has published its Android emulator.

A tweet from Windows Central Senior Editor Zac Bowden (via The Verge) revealed some of the gesture navigations that he was able to play around with on the emulator. Another tweet, this one from designer Jonas Daehnert, put Bowden's tweet in context by overlaying it on an image of the Surface Duo. Note that the pinned apps on the bottom are set up with three on each display. When you select one, the pinned apps all move over to the opposite screen to give the user the ability to select more apps.

The hinge will allow the screens to move 360 degrees


From the looks of things, Microsoft feels that most users will want to use two apps side-by-side rather than use the additional real estate created by the second display for one app. That doesn't mean that there won't be any apps offered that take advantage of the extra space; but unlike the foldable phones, which have a crease that sometimes can't be spotted, the Surface Duo does have a visible line between the two displays running from hinge to hinge.


Speaking of the hinge, it will allow the user to manipulate the displays in a 360-degree fashion allowing the inside screens to be on the outside of the device. Based on patents that Microsoft has filed over the last few years, we expect that the hinge will be able to determine the position that the screens are positioned in and adjust the UI accordingly. For example, in laptop mode, the device would be held in landscape with the bottom screen displaying the virtual QWERTY and the top display used as the screen. In another mode, the device is propped up on a nightstand in an inverted "V" position allowing it to be used as an alarm clock.

Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was photographed on social media while showing off the Surface Duo. By using Android for its dual-screen phone, Microsoft was acknowledging that for now, there is no way that the company can compete in the smartphone industry with its own operating system. Windows Phone turned out to be a major failure for Microsoft thanks to what became known as the app gap. Besides, Microsoft made more money getting paid royalties for the use of its Android patents.

The Surface Duo is designed for productivity and multitasking. It is about having the ability to use two separate screens at once allowing a user to get more things done. Google worked with Microsoft on the changes that needed to be made to Android that make the Surface Duo work. This isn't the first dual-screen Android phone with the most recent model, the ZTE Axon M, touching down in 2017. This phone also had a noticeable line separating the two screens and had different modes that users could choose from. The Axon M had one setting for the use of the main screen only, another setting that allowed two independent apps to work on each screen at the same time, and another option that would stretch an app out across the two screens. We should see similar options for the Surface Duo. And with the brand new hinge and the passage of three years, the Duo experience will surely improve on what Axon M users experienced.

FEATURED VIDEO

12 Comments

12. magnaroader

Posts: 75; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

The only thing holding this device back is the lack of actual apps designed for dual screens. I don't blame Microsoft - these guys are actually trying to do something unique. And I hope enough people buy this device to force developers to start thinking of dual screens and foldables as a valid platform for their apps.

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7676; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Android already takes advantage of dual screen's, especially since Microsoft's duo is using Android as well. The LG G8X proves it. Plus it works really well. Browse and email at the same time, and watch YouTube for fun as well. It works great.

5. tbreezy

Posts: 275; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

I’m not at all convinced by this and I doubt the market would be convinced either, it will be niche. If they released this as some MS Xbox Mobile device, it would make more sense.

9. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2577; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Note was a niche device when it was first introduced. OnePlus was a niche device when it was first introduced as well.

3. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3200; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I would be interested in this device with one caveat. The inking abilities have to be on par with Microsoft's or at least what you get with Apple's Pencil. The Note series, and Android in general, are rather limited compared to Windows and Chromebooks are more so.

7. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

I personally think (and really hope) Microsoft will do exactly that. They are going for a “Surface Smartphone” with this, complete with Surface Stylus, that runs on Android and is full of Microsoft’s suite of apps.

2. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

I am so here for this! I can’t wait until this is released. This really looks it could be the one true competitor to Samsung’s awesome Galaxy Note line.

4. tbreezy

Posts: 275; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

Lol. No. There really is no true competitor for the Galaxy note line.....and I don’t think anyone really cares for a competitor for it. The note is the note, people take it or leave it.

6. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao so because you feel that way, that makes it so? How presumptuous people on the internet like you are. The Note is the Note, but people don’t have to just “take it or leave it”, either. This can legit turn out to be a Note competitor if done right.

8. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2577; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Eh, the Note in the past few cycles has been nothing more than a Galaxy S with a square appearance and a stylus. As someone who owned the original Note and a Note 4, I can recall the days when the Note brand meant something that was unique and even more premium than the Galaxy S. Samsung, it appears, has decided they didn’t want to undermine Galaxy S sales by introducing a Note that had better specs or features. So I think there would be a number of people that would welcome an alternative to the Note. Something that can wake up Samsung to perhaps bringing back the old days when the Note brought new and exciting features that were unique.

11. Sparkxster

Posts: 1269; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

It sure does! The unique design will allow it to do things that the note wouldn't be able to do. If MS nails this it will be a big hit for them.

1. Elvis358

Posts: 302; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

If it has oleds screen then I would consider off buying this.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless