Surface Duo confirmed to have unlockable bootloader, opening door to mods

Surface Duo Press Hands Horizontal
Surface Duo Press Hands Horizontal (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has confirmed Surface Duo ships with an unlockable bootloader.
  • This allows developers to easily root and unlock the device to develop mods.
  • Surface Duo launches on September 10 and preorders are open now starting at $1,400.

Surface Duo is already set to be a pretty unique addition to the Android world, but it looks like developers will get a chance to make it even moreso. Microsoft recently confirmed to XDA Developers that Surface Duo will ship with an unlockable bootloader. That opens the door to a modding scene that could spawn some pretty interesting customizations.

An unlockable bootloader means that it's easier for developers to unlock and root a device, allowing them to make customizations to the core software experience. It also allows for whole custom ROMs to be flashed to the device, though that will require a ton of work on the developer side.

Already, XDA has highlighted one area that's ripe for modding — turning the earpiece into another speaker for stereo sound. Given its dual-screen setup, the community could come up with some pretty unique mods and custom ROMs for the Surface Duo.

There's also the possibility that we could see some even more exotic modifications. Should one want to put forth the effort, it may be possible to put something like Windows 10X on Surface Duo, making it like a miniature Surface Neo. It would take a lot of work, and it's not clear if this is even possible, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Surface Duo is set for a September 10 release. It's available to preorder now starting at $1,400 from Microsoft, Best Buy, and AT&T.

Microsoft Surface Duo


Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl