Microsoft Brings Android 12L to Surface Duo

Posted on October 24, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Android, Microsoft Surface with 37 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is bringing Android 12L and some Windows 11-like theming to Surface Duo and Duo 2.

“The Surface team is excited to share updates to Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 that will build stronger connections between your Windows 11 PC and your Duo device, making your everyday easier,” Microsoft’s Kimmo Lehtosalo writes. “The new user interface updates we’re sharing today focus on building stronger connections between Windows and Duo, driving familiarity using visuals and coherence. [And] we’ve maximized the potential for customization within Android to deliver this more aligned experience without sacrificing performance.”

On the Windows 11 front, Microsoft isn’t bringing its in-house OS to Duo but is instead adapting the Android UI on Duo to more closely resemble that of Windows 11. This visual refresh includes Windows 11-style iconography, colors, and UI controls, and the start of a push towards cross-device operability between Windows and Android (on Duo) with newly redesigned Settings and Quick settings interfaces.

Microsoft is also upgrading Duo to Android 12L, the weird interim release that Google developed last winter to target Android tablets, foldables, dual-screen devices, and Chrome OS. Though 12L’s features were later incorporated into Android 13, Microsoft is once again providing a dated experience, but at least there are new features, including a dynamic theming engine, new widgets, improved accessibility, and a new Privacy dashboard. And there are four new wallpapers that the firm says “align” with the Windows 11 default wallpapers (while remaining completely different).

It’s not clear when these updates will arrive on Surface Duo and Duo 2.

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