Surface Duo skipping Android 12 may be blessing in disguise

As innovative as the Surface Duo might have been, it received mostly negative feedback, thanks mostly to its software. While Microsoft addressed many of the hardware disappoints with the Surface Duo 2, the software experience still left a lot to be desired. The company received a lot of flak for the delay of the long-overdue Android 11 for the original Surface Duo, but now it seems that they will have to wait even longer for the next update after that.

The Surface Duo launched at the worst possible time when a dual-screen foldable was probably the last thing in most people's minds. To give credit where it's due, it was a handsome device that inspired awe and wonder when it worked. The problem was that it didn't always work, at least as far as software was concerned.

Microsoft regularly pushed out updates to the device to try and fix those bugs, but not all of them were sufficiently squashed. Microsoft suddenly stopped sending updates in the middle of 2021 to supposedly focus on preparing an Android 11 upgrade for the Surface Duo. Unfortunately, the date for that update slipped further and further, and now it's expected to actually surface (no pun intended) sometime this month.

Microsoft put the blame on Google, who demands a certification process for every major upgrade on a device that ships with Google Play. The holidays ensure that the process won't be finished by the end of the year, pushing the update back to early 2022. That said, the Surface Duo launched with Android 10 a year after that version was made available, so it wasn't exactly keeping on top of things in the first place.

Now Windows Central caught a whiff of some rumors that Microsoft will be skipping Android 12 for both the Surface Duo and the Surface Duo 2. It is, however, for a good cause because it will instead focus on bringing Android 12L to these devices instead. While Android 11 laid the foundations for foldable phones in general, Android 12L is specifically targeting large screens, foldable screens, dual screens, and windowed Android apps.

That, however, also means that it will take Microsoft a lot longer to bring the next Android upgrade to these devices. Although technically a "feature drop" for Android 12, Android 12L is quite a lot of changes that will take manufacturers more time to integrate into their devices. The code is expected to be available in the first quarter of this year, but, given Microsoft's record so far, we won't expect it until the end of the year at the earliest.