- Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 are getting more app support for dual screens from some recent app updates.
- Google Gboard (Beta) now supports splitting making thumb typing easier.
- Whereseek officially supports Surface Duo in a July 5 update
- Talon for Twitter indirectly supports Surface Duo via a new tablet mode that splits the app into columns when spanned.
When it comes to apps optimized for dual-screen usage on Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2, there aren’t that many beyond Microsoft’s own apps. Of course, the real benefit of Surface Duo is being able to run two apps side by side for multitasking, but for in-depth work, a spanned experience can be more immersive and rewarding.
A few significant apps are starting to move into support for “tablet mode” on Android, which results in them being optimized for dual screens as well. We’ve already seen Sync for Reddit (plus Infinity and Relay for Reddit) get such support, and now more are joining them.
Whereseek, as pointed out on /r/surfaceduo, now officially supports Surface Duo according to the July 5 changelog. The app is used to find fascinating locations around you, drinking water stations, ATMs, parking spots, libraries, toilets, post boxes, and more.
Spanning Whereseek works as expected: On the left side, you have a map based on your location that you can move around, and on the right, you have points of interest. Tapping on the camera icons on the map brings up detailed information on the right side about that place.
Whereseek is free to use, but some features are locked unless you pay a one-time $8.99 to unlock everything. After using the app for just a few minutes, I didn’t hesitate to buy it as it’s quite a fun app if you’re in a new location and looking for points of interest around you.
Next up, Talon for Twitter, which has been around since 2014 and is one of the best well-known third-party Twitter apps, also now supports “tablet mode.” The feature works predictably. Enable tablet mode under settings, and you can then specify swipe-able panels for your feed, mentions, DMs, topics you follow, local, and more.
On each display on Surface Duo, you’ll have a different feed that can scroll independently, letting you get a comprehensive live view of world events, e.g., following multiple hashtags or trends.
Finally, Google has been beta testing its split-keyboard feature in Gboard, its popular keyboard app for Android. The feature is only available in the Gboard beta, and even then, it’s only in A/B testing, meaning you may not even get it.
The keyboard only splits when you’re spanning an app (whereas SwiftKey can appear on both screens even if there is only one app on one display). Still, it does work in portrait and landscape “compose” modes making it a viable alternative to the default SwiftKey.
Shane Craig on YouTube did a nice video showing how the keyboard works compared to Microsoft’s option.
Google is expected to update all its apps for Android 12L in the coming months, and Gboard may be the start of that trend. Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 are getting that Android 12L later this year, likely towards the Fall timeframe.
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