Microsoft shares its vision for dual-screen apps on Windows 10X and Android

Windows 10X
Windows 10X (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has details plans around dual-screen app development on Windows 10X and Android.
  • Developers can test their apps on Windows 10X today via an emulator.
  • More details about Windows 10X have been unveiled.

Microsoft has today shared more information regarding app development for the upcoming Windows 10X operating system, as well as how developers can adapt Android apps to support Microsoft's Surface Duo. Foldable and dual-screen devices offer new ways for app developers to present their apps through functionality such as spanning, and Microsoft wants developers to be ready for when these devices start shipping.

Whether it's a Windows, Android, or web app, Microsoft is making it easy for developers to adapt their apps to take advantage of the new capabilities introduced with dual-screen and foldable devices. During the Microsoft 365 Developer Day livestream, Microsoft detailed three key areas that developers can focus on to enhance their apps for these new form factor devices.

  • Expansive workspaces: This is an opportunity to show more detail as your app spans across two screens and allows you to highlight your content on a bigger, more expansive canvas. Whether your users are reading an article, scrolling a feed, or browsing a gallery, having more real estate helps your users to see more of your content.
  • Focused screens: Dual-screen devices are more than just a bigger screen – they allow you to take advantage of the defined screens and accomplish what you need without interruption. You can see your app on one screen and your tools on the other and stay in your flow.
  • Connected apps: When your apps can work together across screens you can achieve broader and bigger tasks without losing context. Your work flows naturally for app-to-app launches, or if your app opens a new window – content will be placed naturally across screens making side-by-side comparisons and multi-tasking easy and natural.

All apps are welcome

Microsoft Store

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Even web developers can get in on the action with Windows 10X and Surface Duo, allowing web apps to take advantage of the new dual-screen and foldable APIs. Microsoft has also detailed Windows 10X handles running both UWP and Win32 programs, powered by new container technology that's more secure and keeps OS performance fresh when not running legacy programs.

Another area that Microsoft has talked about today is how developers can build cross-platform apps using Xamarin. Microsoft is releasing a new dual-screen SDK for Xamarin.Forms that makes it easy to build apps across Windows 10X and Android, with a new TwoPaneView control and APIs such as the DualScreenInfo helper class that enables access to important information. Microsoft showcased a TV app that it built with Xamarin as an example.

Developers can begin testing their apps on Windows 10X today via an emulator that's available now. This emulator features a pre-release build of Windows 10X, and allows developers to virtually manipulate the OS as if it were running on real hardware. This is key for developers who might want to take advantage of the different postures that are possible on a device with foldable or dual displays.

Microsoft is also updating the already available Surface Duo SDK with a new build that's more up to date. This new SDK includes all the samples that Microsoft showcased today and APIs that allow developers to support drag and drop capabilities.

Microsoft's documentation for dual-screen app development has been updated with much more information, and the Microsoft 365 Developer Day agenda has many deep-dives into critical areas that developers might be interested in. What are your thoughts on Microsoft's push for dual-screen app development? Let us know in the comments.

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