Microsoft Upgrades Android With Powerful Surface Features

Earlier this month the main specifications of the dual-screened device were revealed, including a SnapDragon 855, 6 GB of RAM, and up to 256 GB of storage. But it’s the unique elements of the Surface ecosystem that are being addressed by Microsoft as the release gets closer.

The power of the Surface Pen is coming to the Surface Duo, and the moment is being prepared for.

Microsoft Event

Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay holds a Surface Duo at an event, Wednesday, Oct. 2,… [+]2019 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


Watch any launch of a new Surface hardware, much is made of the Surface Pen. It could be the different levels of pressure that can be sensed, how the software can read the angle of the pen, new screen technology which allows the nib of the pen to get closer to the screen elements, or the use of the top button to access various features.

Until now these interactions have all been under Windows, with all of the latest machines running one of the Windows 10 variants. With the Surface Duo moving to Android, not only does the technology need to be ported to the new operating system, but developers need to accommodate the extra features into their apps that are destined for the Surface Duo. Windows Latest has taken a closer look at this area:

“The Surface Pen, used in the tandem with the Surface Duo, should deliver a very natural experience. Microsoft developers have worked on the Android input stack to enable both touch and pen to seamlessly work between the screens.

“This allows the Surface Pen to react naturally to different levels of pressure and when you drag the operation from one screen to another. You’re also going to like the gestures that the Surface Pen will offer, such as double-tap to capture a screenshot or performing a quick click to open Microsoft’s Outlook.”

It’s not just the Surface Pen where Microsoft is clearing a path or the Duo. Microsoft has been contributing to the Chromium open source project to deliver support for dual screened devices. Chromium is used as a base for many web browsers, including Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, and Amazon’s Silk. BY adding support for dual-screen emulation, web developers can check their work in an (emulated) dual screen environment. As well as hooks for the Surface Duo, Microsoft is also adding support for Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 2.

Again, it’s worth remembering that Microsoft is doing all of this out in the open. Thanks to the announcement of the Surface Duo last year, there’s no need to hide a ‘mystery’ product behind all this work. We all know that the dual screened device is on its way, and Microsoft can do much of its development out in the open.

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