Microsoft just made it a lot easier for developers to make great apps for the Surface Duo

Surface Duo Screenshottool
Surface Duo Screenshottool (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently released an update to the Surface Duo emulator.
  • The update includes samples to help developers work on dual-screen experiences.
  • Microsoft also updated the Surface Duo SDK and SUrface Duo Design Kit.

Microsoft recently updated the Surface Duo emulator (opens in new tab). The update includes several app samples that help developers create apps and experiences for the device. Developers can look at the app samples to see how they're built and use insights to improve their own apps. In addition to updating the Surface Duo emulator, Microsoft updated the Surface Duo SDK (opens in new tab) and Surface Duo Design Kit.

The app samples are built in Kotlin and "[showcase] the development on Surface Duo in different scenarios," according to Microsoft. The samples are all open source and can be found on Microsoft's GitHub public repo.

The code samples are built to show how specific elements of apps and experiences are created. Microsoft outlines (opens in new tab) the specific features and experiences showcased:

  • Drag and drop: shows how to build a layout where you can drag and drop content from other apps, mentioned in the blog, Bring your app to Surface Duo – Step 2 (opens in new tab).
  • Dual View: shows how to implement the Dual view (opens in new tab) app pattern with a mock restaurant application.
  • Hinge Angle: shows how to leverage the hinge angle with a simple drawing application, mentioned in the blog, Hinge Angle on Microsoft Surface Duo (opens in new tab) last year.
  • List Detail: shows how to implement the List-detail (opens in new tab) app pattern with a mock gallery application.
  • Pen Events: shows how to enable Pen support and detect Pen Event on Surface Duo, mentioned in the blog, Pen Events on the Surface Duo (opens in new tab)
  • Two Page: shows how to build the Two page (opens in new tab) app pattern with a mock reading application.
  • Companion Pane: shows how to implement the Companion pane (opens in new tab) with an image editing application.
  • Extended Canvas: shows how to build the Extended canvas (opens in new tab) app pattern with a mock map application.
  • Intent To Second Screen: shows how to start a new Activity on the second screen, which was just mentioned in the last blog, Developer tip: launch on adjacent screen (opens in new tab).
  • Qualifier: shows how to use the Android resource qualifiers to structure the project resource in the development of Surface Duo, mentioned in the blog, Resource configuration for Microsoft Surface Duo (opens in new tab).
  • Multiple Instance: shows how to open multiple instances of the same activity.

The sample apps available are Widget, TwoNote, Photo Editor, and Source Editor.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • Why would developers target the Duo when their is almost zero chance that this form factor will exist in the folding screen future? Not to mention, sales must be tiny for this device. The issue getting developers certainly isn't the tools, same as always.
  • BOTH developers currently working on apps optimized for the Duo are thrilled! LOL
  • They said the same when Surface Pro was released, look at it now 🙄. Microsoft isn't Google.
  • Yeah yeah we know that you hate Surface products...
  • They could make it easier for developers by lowering the price and creating more demand and selling more units...this thing costs CDN $1869 in Canada!
  • I am hoping they will make a more budget friendly version in the future. Like I do not need so much storage on a phone and a mid-tier cpu would be fine for me too in a phone (would also increase energy efficiency a bit if they use a 6xx qualcomn cpu).