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In weeks, both Surface Duo models could get Android 12L with a Windows 11-based skin


According to Windows Central, Microsoft is just a few weeks away from releasing an update for both the Surface Duo 1 and Surface Duo 2. The dual-screened devices are expected to receive Android 12L, a special version of the operating system made for large-screened and foldable handsets.

Surface Duo 1 and 2 will soon receive Android 12L with a Windows 11 skin

While the Surface Duo phones aren’t foldable, the first-generation model features a pair of 5.6-inch AMOLED displays with a resolution of 1350 x 1800. When the device is open, it creates an 8.1-inch tablet-sized display with an 1800 x 2700 resolution (albeit with a hinge in the middle). The Surface Duo 2 comes with a pair of 5.8-inch screens with a resolution of 1344 x 1892. When open, the two screens deliver an 8.3-inch tablet-sized canvas with a resolution of 1892 x 2688 for users to work on.

The Android 12L update for the two Surface Duo models will include a skin based on Windows 11 which will use Microsoft’s “Fluent Design System.” The latter will influence features such as the Microsoft Launcher activity feed, the notification shade, and the settings app. The report says to expect more effects, blurred surfaces, and more fluid animation when gestures are used to open and close apps.

This will be the first time that Microsoft has used its “Fluent Design” on Android. Typically, Microsoft defers to Google’s “Material Design” when it comes to Android. But with the Android 12L update, you’ll see that elements like toggles, buttons, and notifications are created using the “Fluent Design.”

It seems that Microsoft not only wants the Surface Duo phones to provide an outstanding Android experience but also wants consumers to think of the device as a mobile extension of their Windows PC; this is a smart move by the company that could boost sales. The Android quick settings area in the notification shade looks like the quick settings panel on Windows 11. The settings app will feature icons in the style of Windows 11 for individual categories.

The Surface Slim Pen 2 gets a new “Pen menu” interface that is similar to the Windows 11 pen menu. It will show the battery life remaining for the pen and add shortcuts for all apps installed on the device. And with Android 12L, Surface Duo users will be able to employ Google’s Android wallpaper theming which changes icon colors and the colors of the accents used on Android to match the dominating color of the wallpaper chosen by the user.

One Android 12L feature that is available for foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 but will not appear on the Surface Duo models is the taskbar interface.

Microsoft wants to market the Surface Duo as an extension of your Windows PC

Windows Central notes that the update is in the final testing phase and could be released late this month (October) or early next month (November). Last month (as long as we’re specifying months here, that would be September), Microsoft denied reports that it was giving up on the Surface Duo and discontinuing the product. Actually, if the company does promote the device as an extension of your PC, we could see that helping to jump-start sales.
While Microsoft addressed many issues with the Surface Duo 2, starting at $1,500 it remains a pricey investment. Still, Microsoft sold out of units and Best Buy also took down the kiosks it had built for the phone in its stores. There has been speculation that the Surface Duo 3 will be a true foldable along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Microsoft is holding its next Surface event this coming Tuesday, October 11th and we do not expect to see the Surface Duo 3 unveiled. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t give us a preview of the device as it did with the original Surface Duo back in 2019, 11 months before the phone was ultimately released.



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