The Microsoft Surface Duo brings a novel approach to foldable smartphones, featuring twin 5.6-inch displays bound by a 360-degree hinge, facilitating various dual-screen experiences. The company hopes to deliver a new form factor for mobile productivity, with examples of apps displayed side-by-side for multitasking, or one single app spanned across both panels.
The migration to Android has enabled Microsoft to bring countless apps to Surface Duo, but with only some boasting considerations for the device. The best comes with optimized apps, accounting for the dual screens, and fully leveraging the latest hardware. We’ve rounded up an extensive list of all known Surface Duo optimized apps so far and how they work.
List of Microsoft Surface Duo optimized apps
Android photo editing app, Mylio, supports dual-screen spanning on Surface Duo for easy edits with fewer obstructions.Source: Microsoft
The Surface Duo launches with a variety of out-of-box experiences optimized for dual screens. Microsoft is understandably the device’s leading advocate, delivering an extensive list of in-house software primed for the added screen real estate.
The lineup includes the extended Microsoft Office family and other productivity apps, all considering the form factor’s benefits. We also see third-parties exploring the device, including top names like Amazon Kindle and Spotify. Below is the list of confirmed apps with dual-screen optimization on Surface Duo so far.
Note: Without official documentation on apps built for Surface Duo, this list has been comprised with research of apps with confirmed support. If we’ve overlooked an app, let us know in the comments.
What are Surface Duo optimized apps?
With the release of the Surface Duo, Microsoft brings various new concepts to the Android ecosystem. The integral dual-screen support brings a distinct experience, with apps making unique considerations to maximize productivity. Apps optimized for Surface Duo have been built to take full advantage of the two screens. Those that hope to leverage these unique features can use the Surface Duo SDK, opening up functionalities like “spanning,” where content adapts across the two screens.
The implementation varies wildly between apps, hinging on the app’s features and how they complement an extended screen. Some deliver profound experiences with clear considerations for the form factor, as seen with photo editor Mylio, which displays your image on one display, with sliders and tools placed across the opposite side of the hinge. Apps like Amazon Kindle span the two screens on Surface Duo, mirroring a real-world book’s composition. Microsoft also showcases instances of easing navigation, with OneNote and OneDrive showing lists and folders on one screen, with the chosen document or photo displayed on the other.
That’s without touching on the native components of Surface Duo, which help deliver the charm of its design. The Microsoft Launcher has been rebuilt with the Duo in mind, which provides the backbone for its home screen and everyday interaction. Microsoft’s SwiftKey keyboard also contextually adjusts, considering on-screen content and orientation for a consistent typing experience.
Each app approaches Surface Duo differently, with varying results based on suited uses.
Will non-optimized apps work with Duo?
Even without optimizations for Surface Duo, apps like OpenTable still work smoothly on one of two displays.Source: Microsoft
Yes, Microsoft Surface Duo runs on the Android operating system, with capabilities to run any Android application on the device. The Duo also enjoys the full suite of Google services, including the Google Play Store, to download your favorite apps. There is no app incompatibility, and there are no limitations on what can be installed to Surface Duo.
Even without optimizations for Surface Duo, many apps still provide enhanced experiences over their single-screen counterparts. Android apps can run adjacent others via dual-screen windowing, while also supporting features like “App Groups,” which allow two apps to open side-by-side with a single shortcut.
Future apps with Surface Duo optimizations
While we understand additional developers have Surface Duo optimizations in the pipeline, we’re yet to receive an overview of future updates headed to apps. We’ll update this list as new apps confirm planned support.
Two screens are better than one
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.