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Microsoft’s Surface Duo SDK shows how dual-screen apps might work

With Microsoft’s Surface Duo dual-screen Android smartphone due later this year, the company has opened up the device’s SDK (software development kit) to developers eager to see what’ll make it tick when it launches.

Today, developers can download the preview SDK for Surface Duo, access documentation and samples for best practices, see UX design patterns, and more,” Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of the the Windows Developer Platform wrote. “The preview SDK gives developers a first look at how you can take advantage of dual-screen experiences.”

Related: Surface Duo vs Surface Neo

If you’re more interested in the question “should I be saving up for one” than the specifics of how apps will work, there is still one interesting nugget of info, found by Windows Central’s Zac Bowden. It appears that the Duo has a resolution of 1350×1800 on each display, meaning a pixel density of around 401 pixels per inch. For comparison’s sake, the Samsung Galaxy Fold has a 2152×1536 resolution when unfolded.

But back to the SDK and how apps might display. Microsoft is hoping that the dual-screen format will help developers make apps that “delight people in a new and innovative way.” Gallo goes on to outline the available form factors, which include a canvas over both screens, the screens offering different views of the same thing, two seperate pages or a companion pane.

Screenshot of various icons with name - extended canvas, master detail, two page, dual view and campanion pane

Related: Foldable phones

It all seems pretty buggy at the moment, and not one for the faint of heart (or lack of development skills). Still, if you want a look at the early UI, then this Twitter thread from Bowden is a good place to start:

For now, only the SDK for the Surface Duo is available, so this doesn’t impact the Surface Neo at all. But Microsoft says that a pre-release version of the Windows kit will be with us soon. “Our intent is to provide you with the Microsoft Emulator on February 11th as well as new APIs for dual-screen support, documentation, and code samples,” wrote Gallo.

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