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Surface Duo: Microsoft introduces dual display options and releases SDK

Surface Duo: Microsoft stellt Dual-Display-Optionen vor und gibt SDK frei

Surface Duo: Microsoft introduces dual display options and releases SDK
Picture: Microsoft

Microsoft has released a preview version of the SDK for the Surface Duo. The company is also proposing new standards for the dual display use of the browser and progressive web apps. It also explains what dual display functions devices like the Surface Duo and Neo can have.

For Christmas sales this year, Microsoft plans to launch the Android-based Surface Duo launched last October and the Surface Neo with Windows 10X. Microsoft has released a preview version of the Surface Duo SDK so that apps optimized for dual display use are available for the release.

The SDK is intended to give developers a first impression of what options are available on a dual display device and what benefits can be gained from them. Since the Surface Duo uses Android, the SDK can be used in conjunction with the Android Studio and Microsoft Visual Studio / Xamarin. The SDK provides programmers with native Java APIs for dual display development on the Surface Duo, including the DisplayMask API and the “Hinge Angle Sensor” for hinge angle detection.

Development environment for Windows 10X follows

In the coming weeks, Microsoft plans to follow suit with the development environment for Windows 10X on the Surface Neo. In this case, the preview version should be distributed across the Windows 10 insider builds. Microsoft has set itself the goal of providing an emulator, new APIs with dual display support, documentation and code examples by the 365 Developer Day on February 11th.


Android emulator with a preview of the Surface Duo
Android emulator with a preview of the Surface Duo

Microsoft emulator for Windows 10X on the Surface Neo
Microsoft emulator for Windows 10X on Surface Neo

Chromium-based Edge will be able to address two displays

Microsoft proposes new standards for the dual display experience on the web. The foundation of the new Chromium-based Edge browser is already prepared for these changes. Microsoft’s proposals include CSS primitives and a “JavaScript Window Segments Enumeration API” to recognize multiple displays and distribute content across them. In line with this, Microsoft has published polyfills for older browsers. Progressive Web Apps (PWA) should support the same features in a dual-screen layout as the browser itself. PWAs can be installed from the browser on Android and Windows 10X. More details are to be shared with developers on the official Edge blog in the coming months.

This is what developers and users can expect with two displays

In addition, Microsoft provides developers with an overview of the new functions and, depending on the orientation, different views on dual display devices and explains what to consider when programming, what to follow and what to avoid. However, the overview directed at developers also gives end customers a preview of what can be expected with the Surface Duo and Neo at the end of the year.

Applications can be displayed on the Surface Duo in the default view and in full-screen mode without a system UI (task bar, system tray, app bar, app title) on one or both screens. Both work with both vertical and horizontal alignment of the device. This creates certain challenges when designing apps that developers have to consider. How does an app split across several displays, which UI elements should be positioned where and how is the hinge handled? Microsoft answers all these questions in the new documentation. There are do’s and don’ts and explanatory graphics for each planned usage scenario.

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