Microsoft demos Google Maps on the Surface Duo


Don Sharpe


Dual-screen device

If you cannot wait to see how Android apps work on a real Surface Duo, Microsoft has released a video showcasing that. The software giant has been waxing lyrical about how its dual-screen devices will deliver a magical user experience courtesy of their expansive displays and fluid transitions between screen layouts.

But according to a Tweet by Zac Bowen, the latest Surface Duo clip that Microsoft published is a polished remake of a failed demo. The original video taken during the Microsoft 365 Developer Day captured live a couple of Surface Duo app mishaps that the company would not be proud to showcase.

Google Maps works fine across the two screens

In the recorded demo, Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo shows off a couple of things you can do with different types of Android apps on the Surface Duo. For example, on Google Maps, you can smoothly zoom in and out or spread the app across the two screens.

The application failed to span across two screens in the live demo, though.

Watching the new footage, you will notice that the seam between the two screens is not a problem when you are using Google Maps in the span layout. You can fluidly move the map along with its content across the screens, avoiding the hinge in the middle.

Kevin also showcased the ability to multitask using apps that leverage Surface Duo’s acres of display space. It would be interesting to see how video streaming or sharing apps like YouTube deliver a similar UX on the dual-screen gadget once it launches.

Microsoft has already released an Android emulator for the Surface Duo. It has also provided recommendations for optimizing the UX design for apps running on its upcoming dual-screen device.

However, its failed demo does not supply a lot of inspiration to developers who have not quite perfected the art and science of optimizing apps for the Surface Duo. They are using an emulator to mimic both the operating environment and the user experience, and Microsoft’s flawed demo has just proved that what works in a simulation may embarrassingly crash on a physical device.

There is still time and room for improvements before the Surface Duo finally ships. Hopefully, by then, Microsoft will have optimized all the hardware and software specs for its futuristic mobile form factor.



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