Some developers already have access to dual-screen devices
Microsoft first unveiled its new dual-screen Surface Duo last year, but the company wouldn’t let anyone touch the Android software powering the device. We recently got a closer look at how Android will run on the Surface Duo thanks to an emulator, but now one of Microsoft’s dual-screen devices has appeared in the wild. Spotted on Vancouver’s SkyTrain, the Surface Duo hardware looks identical to what Microsoft showed back in October, although there’s some speculation it may now include a front-facing flash.
The interesting part of this video is how Android runs on the device, and how the OS adapts when you’re using a single display or both screens side-by-side. In the video you can see a game running on the Surface Duo on a single display, before the owner attempts to swipe away and get back into Outlook for Android. The gesture animations appear unfinished here, but the Duo owner also uses two apps side-by-side briefly.
There’s also a brief look at how apps can span across both displays in what Microsoft calls an “extended canvas” mode. This won’t be the default for developers, as end users will have to specifically choose to extend an app across both displays. The default behavior will see apps open individually on each display.
The Verge understands that some developers already have access to some dual-screen devices to create and test apps, which might explain why we’re starting to see Surface Duo devices out in the wild.
Microsoft has supplied a large number of guidelines for dual-screen app developers, and even an Android emulator. The work is still very much in progress, though, as this video shows. Microsoft is now holding a special developer day tomorrow to dive deeper into dual-screen devices, and the company will also release a Windows 10X emulator for its Surface Neo device.