Microsoft Senior Director says Android 11 for OG Surface Duo is just a “few weeks” away

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Microsoft Senior Director says Android 11 for OG Surface Duo is just a "few weeks" away

The other day we pointed out how Microsoft failed buyers of the OG Surface Duo by failing to push out an update to Android 11 before the end of the year. You’re probably thinking that we got it wrong and certainly we mean that an update to Android 12 is what is late. Sadly, we have it all correct.

The OG Surface Duo remains stuck on Android 10

Microsoft released the OG dual-screened Surface Duo in September 2020 and 11 months had gone by since the unveiling of the device and its release. When Microsoft trotted out the phone to the press in October 2019, it had Android 10 pre-installed and many figured that the software giant  would capitalize on its friendship with Google so as to have Android 11 on the Surface Duo starting on its release date.

While that didn’t occur, there was speculation that the OG Surface Duo would be updated just weeks after it hit the shelves. But that didn’t happened either and before you knew it, the Surface Duo 2 was released with Android 11 pre-installed. Those with the OG model continued to slog away without receiving any updates to exterminate bugs or to make the device more stable.

Today, Kimmo Lehtosalo, Senior Director of Program Management at Microsoft, released a statement that said, “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.”
According to Windows Central’s sources, the Android 11 update for the first-gen Surface Duo was actually ready to be disseminated weeks ago but was held back by the holiday break. While the holidays are now over, Microsoft says that since unlocked devices are first in line to receive the update, those who purchased the OG Surface Duo from AT&T will have to wait a few additional weeks before receiving it.

The next update for the Surface Duo 2 will reportedly give users a way to customize the Surface Pen’s shortcut buttons and will add support for the Your Phone’s app which allows users to connect their handset to a Windows PC to checkout messages, photos, and notifications. Windows Central’s sources also say that the next Android update for the Surface Duo 2 won’t be Android 12.

One rumor calls for Microsoft to skip Android 12 and go straight to Android 12 L (made for larger-screened phones)

Instead, it appears that Microsoft is going to push out Android 12 L (for devices with larger displays) which should include features developed specifically for handsets with foldable and dual-screen displays. Surface Duo 2 owners just might be able to update their phones to Android 12 L even while owners of the first-generation device can almost taste Android 11.

If you’re wondering what OG Surface Duo users will notice when they belatedly receive Android 11, it will be a built-in screen recorder, a way to schedule when Dark Mode gets turned on automatically, a more useful power button, and the ability to give apps temporary permission. And with Android 11, users can pin conversations on top of other apps so that they can always be connected to a specific conversation even if they are busy doing something else.

As we mentioned less than a week ago, Microsoft has received a patent for a double-folding phone with two hinges and three screens. Adding the additional hinge and extra screen  turns the Surface Duo into the Surface Trio. The user will be able to pick one of the panels to be the main screen.

But don’t expect to see this form factor anytime soon, patent and all.  The one image contained in the documentation didn’t show where any cameras might go and while this might have done for competitive reasons, it also could mean that Microsoft hasn’t put much thought into this device. And that is probably a good thing since Microsoft probably should improve the Surface Duo first before adding on to the phone.



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