Surface Duo to support multiple screen modes

Don Sharpe
by Don Sharpe
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Dual-screen device

Microsoft Surface Duo, which will likely hit the market before the end of 2020, will sport multiple screen modes. It’s a futuristic mobile device that’s attracted both skepticism and excitement in equal measure considering the failure of similar gadgets in the past.

While announcing the release of dual-screen preview SDKs, Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo said the device would let users span apps across screens. Meanwhile, developers won’t be able to do this programmatically.

Your app, by default, will occupy a single screen, but users can span the app to cover both screens when the device is in a double-portrait or double-landscape layout.

Prioritizing the dual-screen user experience

Microsoft believes that the Surface Duo will be a success if developers can take into account dual-screen user preferences when creating apps for the device. Failure to optimize the user experience is part of the reason why such gadgets are failing in the market or not catching on fast enough.

The company is advising developers not to offer spanned layouts for the sake of it, especially where they don’t add value or if they can compromise the UX. That advice makes sense when it comes to mobile applications that don’t have to display on multiple screens, such as calculators.

Also, users are more like to receive dual-screen patterns well when available as an option depending on how they want to view or access apps or content on the Surface Duo.

Will Android performance be an issue?

Surface Duo is an Android device. Perhaps, after failing in the smartphone market, Microsoft hopes to succeed by deploying the popular mobile OS on its upcoming dual-screen gadget.

But it remains to be seen whether Android can seamlessly manage multiple screens on the Surface Duo. The Samsung Galaxy Fold, also a dual-screen device that runs on Android, had a difficult entry into the market. However, most of its early technical problems had a lot to do with hardware design and not the Android OS.