Skip to main content

Microsoft sneaks working Surface Duo demo into failed event recording

Microsoft sneaks working Surface Duo demo into failed event recording


The new demo gives us a first glimpse of Android apps on Surface Duo

Share this story

Microsoft’s Surface Duo
Microsoft’s Surface Duo
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft demonstrated its dual-screen Surface Duo device for the first time publicly on Tuesday, but the early Android software and apps caused some issues. During a live stream event designed to get developers interested in dual-screen apps, two Surface Duo devices failed to span apps across both screens and unceremoniously crashed. Microsoft has now replaced the footage to provide us with a first look at a working device.

The demos were going smoothly during Microsoft’s event, but then there was a point when one screen of the Surface Duo became unresponsive. The Android app drawer refused to disappear, and then the Google Maps app running on the Surface Duo refused to span across two screens. Kevin Gallo, Microsoft’s head of the Windows Developer Platform, was running the demo and quickly switched to another Surface Duo device he had ready in his pocket. Unfortunately, this device also crashed on another app that Gallo attempted to span across both displays.

You would have seen this demonstration go awry if you were watching Microsoft’s live stream, and probably laughed it off as buggy beta software that can easily kill a demo. If you didn’t tune in live, you’ll see something totally different. As spotted by Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, instead of showing the failed demo in the video posted after the event, Microsoft reshot the segment with the Surface Duo running the apps smoothly.

The software maker does warn at the beginning of this edited on-demand stream that “some demonstrations updated post-event,” but it’s a stealthy edit much like how Apple fixed its buggy iPhone X commercial a couple of years ago. Footage from partners like Adobe has also disappeared from the video posted after the event.

The new footage is certainly welcome, though. It provides us with the best example of Android and dual-screen apps on the Surface Duo. Microsoft previously revealed the Surface Duo at an event in October, but the on-stage demonstrations were just simulated screens and members of the press at the event weren’t able to even touch the device.

Microsoft clearly has many months left until it ships the Surface Duo, and all of the software and apps are still very early. It has taken an unusual approach of announcing a device a year before its availability, and then offering a raw look at early code running on it that isn’t fully optimized. That’s a risky strategy for live demonstrations, as we saw earlier this week.

Microsoft is now hoping that developers will optimize apps for dual-screen devices like the Surface Duo and Neo. The company has released emulators and a set of guidelines for both Android and Windows 10X, to let developers get early access to code and start optimizing their own apps. You can see our first look at the new Windows 10X operating system here.