We are officially in 2022. Know what that means? That’s right: It means Microsoft has failed at its stated goal of bringing Android 11 to the Surface Duo by the end of 2021.
Attentive readers may recall that Microsoft said the following this past September: “We remain committed to providing updates to Surface Duo, and we’re working to bring Android 11 to existing customers before the end of this year.” Okay, so the company wasn’t exactly promising Android 11 by the end of 2021 — but that was the heavily implied intention, and it likely gave some Surface Duo users a lot of hope.
As Windows Central first reported, Duo devices still haven’t received Android 11. While this may be disappointing to the owners of those devices, it’s also not without precedent. Update hiccups are par for the course with Android — all kinds of manufacturers consistently fail to get them out in a timely manner. “The story on upgrades is the same today as it was a decade ago: first-party Google devices get updated quickly, everything else takes months or doesn’t get updated at all,” summarized Verge executive editor Dieter Bohn in a 2019 newsletter.
Microsoft also needs to make Android work with additional controls and functionality in order to accommodate the Duo’s two screens — Android, as an operating system, is “woefully unprepared for devices like the Surface Duo,” Bohn noted in his review of the device. One might expect such a product to take a bit to roll out. Still, Duo users haven’t received major software improvements since the device launched 15 months ago — and that’s a long wait.
According to Kimmo Lehtosalo, Microsoft’s senior director of program management, Surface Duo users can expect an update in the next few weeks. “We’re finalizing the validation and certification for Android 11. We originally planned to deploy Android 11 as an update for Surface Duo in December, but we needed a few more weeks to ensure a great experience for Surface Duo customers. We expect to begin Android 11 rollout in the next few weeks, beginning with unlocked devices,” Lehtosalo told The Verge.
Update, Thursday, January 6th, 11:31 AM: Added a statement from Microsoft.