Ex-Microsoft developer is working on a Surface Duo-optimized version of Android 14

Microsoft Surface Duo
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • An ex-Microsoft developer is experimenting with bringing stock Android to Surface Duo.
  • The custom ROM will recognize Surface Duo's many postures, such as dual-screen and single-screen mode.
  • The project would bring a more recent version of Android to Surface Duo users. 

The Microsoft Surface Duo is a device that's been on the market since 2020, yet is currently stuck on an older version of Android. Microsoft released Android 12L for the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 in September 2022, but hasn't updated the device since and has made no mention of plans to bring Android 13 (or 14) to the device anytime soon.

Fear not, as an ex-Microsoft developer by the name of Thai Nguyen is experimenting with filling the gap with a stock version of Android that's optimized for the Surface Duo's unique hardware. In a quick video posted on Twitter, Nguyen showcases early work of stock Android recognizing the Surface Duo's different postures.

This is significant, as out of box, stock Android has no idea what to do with the Surface Duo and its many postures. It doesn't recognize when the device is in dual-screen or single-screen mode, so extra work is needed to get that functionality going. It appears Nguyen is experimenting with bringing that functionality to life.

The video is of an Android 13 build, but the work should be relatively easy to port to Android 14 once that release is finalized. Upon completion, this third-party ROM would be the first for Surface Duo, and bring the device up to date with the latest version of Android, something Microsoft itself has struggled to do.

Of course, a custom version of stock Android will be missing much of the other unique Surface Duo features, such as deep Microsoft account integration, but I think for many people that might be a worthy trade-off.

This project is still in its infancy, but we'll be watching with a keen eye. 

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads

  • taynjack
    One guy is doing what a whole team working at a trillion dollar company can't (won't) do. This is why the Microsoft fan base has dwindled to 15 fans left.