What does Android on Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo look like?

Microsoft is leading the charge for dual-screen Android applications


Back in October, Microsoft unveiled its Surface Duo. The dual-screen device comes with two 5.6-inch 1,350 x 1,800 resolution displays that fold out into an 8.3-inch overall screen. At the time, Microsoft did not let anyone play around with the Android software and applications that power the device. But that is changing this week.

Microsoft’s Android emulator

Microsoft has published its Android emulator for developers wanting to make applications for the device. Zac Bowden, senior editor at Windows Central has since managed to play around with it. And to take things further, Jonas Daehnert, known as PhoneDesigner on Twitter has taken a step further and overlaid the footage on the Surface Duo. This gives us a much better idea of how the dual-screens will work in practice.

In the video, you can see how applications and Android’s built-in settings open on a single display. You can also see Microsoft’s effort to reflow pinned applications on the Android home screen. So, once an application is launched, the others immediately flow onto the opposite display so you always have the ability to open more.

Future of Android tablet applications

Now that developers can take advantage of optimised applications for two displays, it will be interesting to see how many actually take advantage of having an extra screen. Running applications side-by-side should make the experience pretty manageable out of the box. However, for more complicated applications that want to span both displays, some work will be required to avoid the seam in the middle. We are expecting to hear more about Microsoft’s dual-screen plans during a developer webcast next month. And following that, at the company’s Build conference scheduled for May.