Microsoft release Android emulator for Surface Duo

Don Sharpe
by Don Sharpe
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Surface Duo Android emulator

The preview SDK for Microsoft Surface Duo is now available, Microsoft has announced. The company is determined to make the dual-screen smartphone concept a success, and it’s now providing developers with the tools, including documentation and code samples, to help with that objective.

Surface Duo is not in the market yet, and that’s why Microsoft is releasing an Android emulator that developers can work with when creating apps for the gadget.

The company said it is providing the Android Studio-integrated emulator to help developers test their solutions without a physical device.

The emulator simulates postures, gestures, hinge angle, mimicking the seam between the two screens, and more.

Microsoft said it would be gradually adding capabilities to the newly released Android emulator.

Creating and testing dual-screen experiences, virtually

The Android emulator will give developers something of a “what you see is what you get” experience, enabling them to optimize their apps for dual-screen devices. Microsoft is also providing some early inspiration for dual-screen app patterns that deliver the ideal user experiences.

The tricky part is identifying which dual-screen layout or pattern matches each type of application. One of the ideas applicable to Surface Duo is the extended canvas, which mimics an open book. A design like that may work for content that spans across the screen, for example, to deliver a split-typing experience in landscape mode.

Another one is the dual view, which splits the display into two. It seems appropriate for multi-tasking applications, such as allowing the user to watch a video on one side of the screen and read text on the other.

Developers can also offer consumers the means to optimize their dual screens for the best view. For example, a user may set their device orientation to double landscape and span an app to occupy both screens if they don’t like the way the content displays on a single screen.

There’s much more that developers need to learn about creating apps that work for dual-screen devices, and Microsoft 365 Developer Day on February 11, 2020 offers an excellent opportunity to do that.