Microsoft just announced the Surface Duo 2, and it is clearly what the first Surface Duo should have been the very first time around. It has hardware made for the year it was launched, pulling very few punches this time. Its launch, however, might have caused some of the owners of the first-gen dual-screen device concern over software support, and Microsoft is putting those fears to rest with the promise of an Android 11 before the year is over.
The idea for the Surface Duo showed great promise but was hobbled by both hardware and software implementation. On the hardware side, the Surface Duo that launched last year bore specs that were meant for 2019 flagships. Even disregarding the processor and lack of 5G, the first iteration’s lone 11MP camera left a lot to be desired.
In terms of software, Microsoft put an almost vanilla version of Android 10 that failed to live up to the promise of the Surface Duo. Its modifications to support a dual-screen device were often buggy, though, to its credit, Microsoft pushed out regular updates to the device during the course of its life. Now it is committing to a major upgrade that will hopefully bring some relief to early adopters.
Microsoft told The Verge that Android 11 for the Surface Duo is still slated for later this year, just after Android 12’s public availability. This will most likely be the same version of Android 11 that will be running on the Surface Duo 2, which hopefully brings better support for dual-screen devices.
That might be welcome news but still falls short of expectations for major Android OEMs these days, though Microsoft is admittedly a newcomer in that regard. With two Android devices under its Surface brand, however, the company could be more motivated to keep on top of things and maybe roll out Android 12 before Android 13 arrives next year.