Surface Duo gets Android 14 update, but it's not from Microsoft

Surface Duo
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Ex-Microsoft developer Thai Nguyen's Surface Duo-optimized version of Android 14 is available for download.
  • Android 14 ROM ships with plenty of neat features, including an AOSP base with Google apps, Settings app icons from stock Surface Duo ROM, and more.
  • You can also expect a lot of bugs while running this release on your device.
  • The developer recommends Pixel Launcher for this build.
  • Microsoft will no longer ship updates to the original Surface Duo, but the Surface Duo 2 will continue to receive support until 2024.

Microsoft hasn't shipped meaningful updates to the Surface Duo in the past few months. Last month, the company announced that it will no longer ship updates to the original Surface Duo, though the Surface Duo 2 will continue to receive updates until 2024. 

In hindsight, Microsoft believed that dual-screen devices were the future, but recent developments reflect a different reality, as the Surface Duo is seemingly dead. While the Surface Duo 2 is still supported, the chances of these updates shipping with any major changes are extremely slim. It's highly likely that the device will continue running on Android 12L, as Microsoft has remained silent on its plans to bring Android 13 or even Android 14 to the device anytime soon.

Luckily, there's still an alternative available that first or second-gen Surface Duo owners can explore. In May, Thai Nguyen, an ex-Microsoft developer, started experimenting with bringing stock Android 14 ROM to Surface Duo. The project seems to have morphed from its infancy and is now available for download.

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It is worth noting that the Android 14 ROM is based on Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and ships with the following:

  • AOSP base with Google apps
  • Hinge Gap disable for Duo 2
  • Settings app icons from stock Surface Duo ROM
  • OTA enabled for future build

The ex-Microsoft developer also recommends Pixel Launcher for this build. It is worth noting that the experience might not be as smooth and seamless as you may hope. The developer stated that users should "expect a lot of bugs." With this in mind, you can head to GitHub and download Android 14 ROM for your Surface Duo.

During launch, the Surface Duo 2 shipped with Android 11 and has only received Android 12L as the only major OS update since. As our Senior Editor, Zac Bowden, highlighted, "Android 13 has been out for a year, and Android 14 is set to launch imminently." 

Google's new lineup of Pixel devices could be worth your while

Image of the Google Pixel 7 in Obsidian.

(Image credit: Google)

Other than the aesthetic appeal, battery life, and other salient features, users often look at a device's longevity in terms of its durability and how long it will continue receiving updates. 

As it seems, Google has clocked and bridged this gap with its latest entries, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro that were recently launched. Aside from incorporating quality-of-life features in these devices, Google promised to support these devices for up to 7 years, bringing new features and security updates. Not forgetting that spare parts for these devices will be readily available. 

At the end of the day, you're better off placing your bet on a device that will be there for the long haul rather than living in uncertainty.

Do you think Microsoft's Surface Duo stands a fighting chance against competitors such as Google? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • Arun Topez
    It honestly baffles me how a company can release a device, charge a crazy price for it, and just abandon the customers who actually spent that coin on it. With their competitors releasing phones with guaranteed updates for 7 years now... it really makes MS look bad and untrustworthy.
  • naddy69
    Because no one bought it. Only around 40,000 Duo 1s were sold. That number was reported here. The actual quote was "between 30,000 and 50,000". I have seen no sales numbers at all for the Duo 2.

    After the utter failure and abandonment of Windows Phones, what honestly baffles me is why anyone actually bought the Duo.

    I am sure that if/when MS ever releases another phone, the same 40,000 people will buy it. And then be honestly baffled when it fails and is abandoned. Again.

    I still have some Windows phones. Nokia 920, Icon and 1520. They all still work and hold a charge, but they aren't really useful at this point. So even though I was a Windows phone fan, I knew better than to buy an Android phone from MS.