Microsoft has provided early software for its upcoming Surface Duo foldable Android device, alongside an emulator which gives us a better idea of what the software will look like, and how it will work.
The preview SDK for Microsoft Surface Duo is aimed at allowing app developers to get to work on creating new apps – or versions of existing ones – that can take advantage of the Surface Duo’s unique dual-screen foldable design.
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This should mean that when the Surface Duo launches at the end of 2020, there should be plenty of dual-screen apps available.
To help test out the apps and see how they work, an Android Emulator with a preview Surface Duo image has been included with the SDK, replicating the Surface Duo without needing a physical device.
The emulator simulates various aspects of the Surface Duo, including having two screens (separated by a black ‘hinge’, as the real device will have, and while this is a very early version of the Surface Duo’s interface – with icons and visual effects that are not finalised – it does give us a feel for how the Surface Duo will work and what apps will look like on the device.
Neowin has recorded a video of the emulator, which you can watch below, and in it you can see how the Microsoft Launcher works over dual screens, and what multitasking is like – for exampling moving an app from one screen to the other.
Windows 10X next?
Alongside the Surface Duo, which will be a smartphone-like device that runs a custom version of Android, Microsoft is also working on the Surface Neo, which is a larger foldable device that will run a custom version of Windows 10 – known as Windows 10X.
It looks like we’ll be getting a closer look at that new operating system as well, with Microsoft promising that “in the coming weeks, developers will have access to a pre-release version of the Windows SDK through the standard Insider build”, with the aim of getting the emulator into the hands of developers on February 11.
According to Microsoft, “the emulator simulates the physical device so you can see how your apps interact with Windows 10X.”
February 11 will also see Microsoft hosting an online Microsoft 365 Developer Day, focusing on dual-screen experiences. Again, while this is aimed at developers, it could give the rest of us a better idea of what Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface devices will be like.
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