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.
Update: In another sign that the Surface Duo continues to receive attention, a number of job listings are focused on the Surface team in general and the Surface Duo in particular. Mayank Parmar has highlighted fifteen roles being advertised by Microsoft.
Two jobs caught my eye. The first is for a Principal Telephony Architect. Given the need for mobile connectivity the Surface Duo will need, this should not come as a surprise. I’d expect the Duo to also make voice calls, given the technology for video chat over the internet will more than likely be present.
There is also a Principal Android OS Developer, With Microsoft working alongside the Android community, and tweaking Android to integrate it to the Surface hardware, again this should come as no surprise. Don’t forget this will be the first Android powered device from the Surface team.
The power of the Surface Pen is coming to the Surface Duo, and the moment is being prepared for.
Watch any launch of any 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.