Microsoft is bringing Surface Duo to more countries in 2021
Microsoft has announced that it is to roll out its Android-based Surface Duo device outside the US for the first time. The company confirmed today that the dual-screen Android device is coming to Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, with full details of pricing and availability available at the beginning of 2021.
In a lengthy puff piece on the Microsoft blog, the company also confirmed that an ‘enhanced’ version of 2020 mega-app TikTok is now available in the Google Play store, which takes advantage of the second screen. Other enhanced apps include Amazon Kindle (which lets you use the Duo as a ‘book’ that opens) and Spotify. For its own part, Microsoft proudly confirmed it is now the third-largest Android Independent Software Vendor (ISV) in the world, thanks to its decision to create Android versions of its most popular Windows apps, and focus on them in the wake of the failure of Windows Mobile.
Questions were raised, at launch, about Microsoft’s less-than-modest pricing for the Surface Duo, as well as the fact that, as a dual-screen device, many apps (particularly launchers) didn’t render properly. But with Android Studio catering more and more to dual/folding/rolled screens, and developers working to bring optimised versions to the new form factors, it has created quite a following, with demand for a release outside the US growing. Certainly, anyone who thought that Microsoft wasn’t ‘all in’ on Surface, only needs to look at this year’s releases: Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, Surface Laptop Go, a new Surface Pro X and of course the Surface Duo, its first official piece of Android hardware.
Microsoft has also been working hard at making web pages work better in a dual-screen environment. In September, it released a new set of APIs aimed at helping developers make the most of the twin displays. We’ll be interested to see which apps are next to take a dive into dual screen. We’d love to see streaming services come up with something – perhaps a version of Amazon Prime Video which uses the second screen to display its X-Ray content?