Microsoft Surface Duo SDK prepare Android devs for dual screens

Microsoft doesn't seem to be kidding when it said it wanted to give developers the chance to prepare for its dual-screen future quite early. Over the past weeks, it has been dropping bits and pieces of its vision, like its Fluent design language the Microsoft Launcher for Android. Now it has dropped its biggest chunk yet, providing the most critical tool that Android developers will need to make sure that their apps will behave well on the Surface Duo.

Android has always been designed with a "one screen at a time" paradigm, even if it could run multiple instances or views of an app. That is evident even in some "desktop modes", where some apps would pause as soon as you switch to another app. That is just one of the scenarios that Microsoft's SDK or Software Development Kit for the Surface Duo can help developers with.

The kit includes the API or libraries that developers will need to hook into features specific to the Duo, particularly the dual-screen setup and the sensor for determining the angle of the device's hinge. It also includes an emulator that can be connected to the Android Studio development environment to test out all the possible combinations.

Microsoft says that the Duo and Neo will support a number of dual-screen app layouts, from occupying only a single screen to spreading to both screens to having each screen display just a portion of the same app. The company is also providing documentation to get developers started on what to look out for in adapting their apps or creating new ones.

And it isn't just Android either. In the coming weeks, Microsoft will also release an SDK for the Surface Neo based on the unreleased Windows 10X. The company is also working on developing the same dual-screen support for Progressive Web Apps or PWAs, powered by the Chromium-based new Microsoft Edge, of course.