Microsoft Releases Preview SDK for Surface Duo

Posted on January 22, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Windows 10, Windows 10X with 6 Comments

Here’s some good news for developers hoping to write apps for Surface Duo: Microsoft’s first preview Software Developer Kit (SDK) is now available.

“Today, developers can download the preview SDK for Surface Duo, access documentation and samples for best practices, see UX design patterns, and more,” Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo announced. “The preview SDK gives developers a first look at how you can take advantage of dual-screen experiences.”

You can find the preview SDK documentation on the Microsoft Docs website. The SDK includes supports Android Studio, Google’s native Android developer environment and provides native Java APIs to support dual-screen development—including the DisplayMask API, Hinge Angle Sensor, and new device capabilities—and an Android Emulator with a preview Surface Duo image so you can test your app without a physical device. “The emulator simulates postures, gestures, hinge angle, mimicking the seam between the two screens, and more,” Gallo says.

Given what’s happening in Android dev these days, I’m a bit surprised that the Duo SDK targets Java and not Kotlin. But given the radio silence since the device’s November reveal, any news is good news.

Microsoft said that it will also release a preview SDK for Windows 10 that will target Windows 10 X soon. This SDK will provide native Windows APIs for dual-screen development and a dual-screen Hyper-V emulator so you can deploy and test your existing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and Win32 (including Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation) apps.

And Microsoft is proposing new web standards to target dual-screen devices as well. It notes that it will support Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on both Windows 10X and Android, and that PWAs will support the same dual-screen layout features and tools as the new Microsoft Edge browser.

To help developers learn to create apps that target dual-screen devices, Microsoft will host a Microsoft 365 Developer Day virtual event on Tuesday, February 11 at 8:30 am PT. You can learn more here.

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