Surface Duo Debut Presents Dual-Screen Dev Challenges

Microsoft officially launched its new dual-screen Android device, Surface Duo, presenting new challenges -- and opportunities -- for developers to leverage the new form factor.

The Surface Duo connects two PixelSense Fusion Displays to create one 8.1-inch screen with a hinge in the middle.

Microsoft Surface Duo
[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Surface Duo (source: Microsoft).

Microsoft has published much guidance on dealing with app development for dual-screen devices, along with an SDK that contains helper functions and layout controls for multiple developer ecosystems, along with documentation and training materials:

Also, even though Microsoft says, "your existing Android apps will work just as expected and out of the box," the company earlier published "Bring your app to Surface Duo" guidance, with three main steps:

  1. Test an app using Duo Emulator to ensure it works.
  2. Make incremental changes using Android Native APIs and Libraries so the app works better on dual-screen devices even when running side-by-side in single-screen mode.
  3. Use Microsoft's Dual-Screen Preview SDK and embrace new features such as postures and app patterns.

The Surface Duo also provides opportunities for developers to enhance existing apps and create new ones, Microsoft said, including leveraging a variety of dual-screen app patterns:

Dual-Screen App Patterns
[Click on image for larger view.] Dual-Screen App Patterns (source: Microsoft).

The company said Surface Duo development can be done using the following common languages and IDEs:

  • Kotlin & Java using Android Studio on Windows, macOS, or Linux
  • Xamarin using C# with Visual Studio on Windows or macOS
  • React Native using JavaScript or TypeScript
  • Unity for game development
  • Flutter
  • Web sites and PWAs

More information can be found in the August 12 Surface Duo announcement post.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

comments powered by Disqus


  • Xamarin.Forms 5 Preview Ships Ahead of .NET 6 Transition to MAUI

    Microsoft shipped a pre-release version of Xamarin.Forms 5 ahead of a planned transition to MAUI, which will take over beginning with the release of .NET 6 in November 2021.

  • ML.NET Improves Object Detection

    Microsoft improved the object detection capabilities of its ML.NET machine learning framework for .NET developers, adding the ability to train custom models with Model Builder in Visual Studio.

  • More Improvements for VS Code's New Python Language Server

    Microsoft announced more improvements for the new Python language server for Visual Studio Code, Pylance, specializing in rich type information.

  • Death of the Dev Machine?

    Here's a takeaway from this week's Ignite 2020 event: An advanced Azure cloud portends the death of the traditional, high-powered dev machine packed with computing, memory and storage components.

  • COVID-19 Is Ignite 2020's Elephant in the Room: 'Frankly, It Sucks'

    As in all things of our new reality, there was no escaping the drastic changes in routine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during Microsoft's big Ignite 2020 developer/IT pro conference, this week shifted to an online-only event after drawing tens of thousands of in-person attendees in years past.

Upcoming Events