One of the big questions around Surface Neo and Surface Duo is how developers can target these devices with apps. Today, Microsoft finally started that conversation.
“Last month we shared our vision for dual-screen devices, designed to help people get more done on smaller and more mobile form factors,” Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo writes. “Today, we are going to share how developers can unlock this new era of mobile creativity.”
According to Gallo, there are two “stages” for optimizing apps for dual-screen devices like Surface Neo (which will run Windows 10X) and Surface Duo (which will run Android). Existing apps will run fine, he says. But you should try to optimize for the dual-screen experience as well.
As a Windows 10-based device, Surface Neo will support all of the currently-supported Windows developer environments, including “web, UWP, and Win32.” He’s not clear about this—typical for Microsoft these days, unfortunately—but I assume Win32 means everything Win32, including .NET, Windows Forms, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). As an Android-based device, Duo will run all existing web apps and Android-based apps, of course.
Optimizing for dual-screens is where things get interesting, of course.
“Our goal is to develop a common model layered onto existing platform-specific tools and frameworks for Windows and Android,” Gallo admits. “Of course, APIs to access this model will be tailored to the developer platform for each operating system. For example, you can use APIs to enhance your apps to use dual-screen capabilities and features like the 360-degree hinge.”
Developers who are interested in targeting Surface Neo and Duo are asked to please email Microsoft at [email protected] to learn more. Yes, really. But Microsoft says that it will provide more information about these plans “in early 2020.”