You can now test apps for the Surface Neo

Don Sharpe
by Don Sharpe
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Coding on Windows

The tools you need to build and test applications for Windows 10X dual-screen devices are now available, Microsoft has announced. The resources include an emulator for the operating system and the Windows 10 SDK insider preview.

Surface Neo is not in the market yet, but it is a Windows 10X gadget for which you can start developing applications with the help of the Microsoft emulator.

Optimizing Windows 10X apps for natural workflows

On February 11, 2020, during the Microsoft 365 Developer Day, the company took time to show developers how they can make the most of the emulator and SDK preview. It has previously demonstrated general UX design principles for multi-screen applications, but today, it focused more on devices running on Windows 10X.

Commenting on today’s event, Kevin Gallo (Corporate Vice President, Windows Developer Platform) said that Microsoft showed developers how to optimize dual-screen devices to suit the way users naturally work.

We shared how your apps work and how you can optimize for three dual-screen patterns, whether you are building apps for Windows, Android, or the Web.

With the Microsoft emulator, you do not need a real Surface Neo to test any app you are building for the device. The tool enables you to explore and assess different screen postures to mimic the actual user experience.

It is no longer a secret that the upcoming Surface Neo employs patented magnetic hinge technology. But developers have not had an opportunity to build applications for the device while taking that unique design into account.

The hinge, which creates a visible seam between two screens, can block some content, especially when the app is on the “span” mode. So developers need to see and accommodate the potential obstruction in their design.

You can now leverage the emulator to handle that problem.

The tool lets you simulate the hinge and work around it as you would on a physical Windows 10X dual-screen device. This way, you can deliver legible and usable app content for the Surface Neo, no matter the app layout.

Here is a resource with information on downloading the Windows 10 SDK preview, Microsoft Emulator, and Windows 10X image. You have to be a Windows Insider to start using these dev tools, however.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also updated the preview SDK for Surface Duo, which users first downloaded in January.