Published: Sat, January 25, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Microsoft Releases Preview SDK for Surface Duo

Microsoft Releases Preview SDK for Surface Duo

Today, Microsoft released its Surface Duo preview SDK complete with an emulator and Java frameworks, allowing developers to begin experimenting with the two-screen form factor on Android.

Microsoft is also asking developers to start thinking about dual-screen layouts for Microsoft Edge, with CSS primitives and a JavaScript API.

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.

Spanning is limited to user activity for now, Microsoft says.

The goal of this release is to show developers how their apps and websites will appear on dual-screen interfaces on both Android and Windows 10X.

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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.

While no specific release date has been given for any of the devices, Microsoft has given a launch window sometime around the 2020 vacation. In the future, Microsoft's new explanations and developments regarding Suraface Duo seem to reveal exactly what Microsoft's new device can offer.

By default, says Microsoft, applications on these dual-screen devices will only occupy one screen. That is evident even in some "desktop modes", where some apps would pause as soon as you switch to another app.

Developers could also put companion content on the right-side display while running the app on the left, similar to how the Nintendo 3DS or Wii U work. For the concept to take off, Microsoft needs developers to find new ways to use that second screen; the ways in which having a couple of screens really does things best, instead of just ... different. The device is also able to run two programs simultaneously on different screens that are separated by a hinge, which makes it easier for users instead of viewing two programs on only one screen.

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