back to article Microsoft brings the pane: You'll be looking at Xamarin and React Native to design apps for dual-screen gizmos

Microsoft's dual-screen Surface devices for Windows (Neo) and Android (Duo) come out later this year, but how will devs write or re-write their apps to support them? The question leads to others. Should we think of Neo and Duo as similar devices, even though they run different operating systems? Or do they have little in …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge


    Just give us a C and C++ compiler and let us get on with it.

    There is zero chance I am going to use Java for Android, Swift for iOS and Cool# for Windows"Neo".

    My whole codebase is and will remain C++ with tiny little binding layers to support all the fancy platforms. Please make this easy for us but not being weird.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nisi latine scribo, ut postea me Germanica linguae barbarae scriba velox in illa traduce.

      Works for me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck ... off ...

    Having been thoroughly burned by Microsofts incremental trashing of every app from Windows Mobile 7 through to it's demise, it would be a cold day in hell before I commit an iota of resource to anything like this.

    If they want apps for it, they can pay for them to be developed.

    Customers take note too. I know at least one IT head who burned his company by insisting on MS only kit for mobile.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Fuck ... off ...

      Care to name the company? :)

      1. drand

        Re: Fuck ... off ...

        was it... Microsoft?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Care to name the company?

        It was an insurance company, so very very conservative. The overall policy was "MS everywhere". So Windows Server backends, running IIS/SQL Server, and Windows XP then 7 on the desktops. At no point was non-MS infrastructure allowed.

        When the mobile platform emerged, it HAD to be MS. No iPhones. No Android (the irony being, or course that for our customers, all platforms were supported).

        Right up till MS scrapped the mobile platform. At which point, there was a scramble for all the BYOD research I had done that had been ignored, and a very costly rushed install of a management suite.

        Part of the problem was the overall estate was so large, that MS - like drug dealers - were able to keep the prices just this side of looking reasonable.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Microsoft dung beetles have added yet another layer...

    Surely they won't be able to push the ball much further?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The Microsoft dung beetles have added yet another layer...

      They've actually split it out into various dung balls, the core OS dung ball should therefore be lighter. Legacy Win32 runs in its own container and UWP applications in their containers.

      Depending on what you actually use, in the way of software, it could be a lot slimmer and faster, at least in theory.

  4. Dave K Silver badge

    Developer fatigue

    Wouldn't surprise me if the majority of devs give this a wide berth initially. Too many have been burnt by MS's incessant u-turns, direction changes, product abandonment and whatnot over the last few years. It'd be a brave developer to throw significant resources behind another MS project that might quietly fade away after a year or so...

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Developer fatigue

      It's bad enough having apps that work on small screens and large screens, in portrait and landscape mode, and on Apple and Android. Now add to the mix support for two screens in various orientations, one of which is partially obscured and an additional operating system, Windowsish. Testing will be skimped a pain.

      There will no doubt be some niche applications, but more platform fragmentation doesn't sound particularly welcome.

  5. iron Silver badge

    As a consumer the Surface Duo looks interesting, depending on price I could see me buying one.

    As a dev its the old chicken and egg problem - what's the point modifying my apps to take advantage of the new features when few users own a compatible device. These features don't work with foldable devices from other manufacturers because they only have one screen. The Xamarin team have done a great job getting everything working cross platform for both Neo & Duo but unless you're writing internal business apps with Neo/Duo as standard corporate issued devices I don't see the point.

    1. Youngone

      I agree the Duo looks interesting, depending on price.

      I am assuming it will be priced way out of my reach and I won't buy one. Neither will anyone else, and it will all be shut down and forgotten sometime in 2021.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will be absolutely fine provided both the users of the Surface are prepared to pay for the app development.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I'm sure some people will find it interesting, but I wouldn't want one. I don't find the idea appealing at all.

      But then I gave up on multiple monitors in the early 1990s and have never missed them.

  6. nevarre

    Wonder Bar? Gag, retch.

    1. jonathan keith Silver badge

      Maybe they had this in mind.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Aw... you beat me to it...

  7. Graham 32

    I don't get it either. Seems like a solution looking for a problem. If they want to push for deeper integration between devices just do a clone of KDE Connect with a full suite of plugins for every MS app. Some of MS's Android apps are really nice and making it easier to switch between the two devices working on the same document/photo/etc would be real boon.

  8. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Arthur 'two screens' Jackson.

    Multi-screen application support has been something that;s lacking, despite the increasing number of screens about now.

    But in the end, how usable a two screen device ends up being will depend on how much control you let the user define by themselves.

    At least, in while all wait for the avalanche of apps designed to make use of two screens floods out from devs around the world (yeah! right).

  9. chuBb. Bronze badge

    Not sure I see the point

    Just don't see the point of :the form factor over a 10 inch tablet.

    Would be more interested in visual studio making better use of multi monitor setups out of the box tbh

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Not sure I see the point

      "Just don't see the point of :the form factor over a 10 inch tablet."

      It's half the size to carry around and possibly more robust.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure I see the point

        but twice as thick to carry

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure I see the point

          Why this obsession with thickness? Not everybody lives in a warm sunny climate and only wears clothes with inadequate pockets, and quite a lot of people carry small bags.

  10. IGotOut Silver badge

    Having had...

    A MS band (great device, crap build) and a WinPhone (far superior inte face to Android and IOS).... I say with a hearty voice.

    No thanks.... I'll watch it be abandoned by MS without spending a penny this time.

    1. chuBb. Bronze badge

      Re: Having had...

      How I miss the win phone interface was light years ahead of shite that's ios or android.

      Wish they would just release it as android loader, still the duo might just be that, make it work on a single screen and I'd gladly replace the stock ui on my phone with it.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Having had...

        Agreed. Sadly the android launchers that are supposed to be WinPho aren't really all that good IME, although the Microsoft Launcher (although nothing like WinPho) is actually pretty good.

        As others have said I don't see much 3rd dev party interest, at least initially, on the "fool me once" principle. However if MS take the lead and make sure that all of the mobile Office apps work well on dual screen then that covers one of the major use cases that I can see for the device

      2. NerryTutkins

        Re: Having had...

        I really don't get how Microsoft could do their android launcher and not make it work similarly to Windows Phone. I loved the tiles interface, it was just a shame that Microsoft was too late to the mobile party and screwed up by having two or three attempts at getting the right code base. And when they did get it right, they just didn't run with it and develop it to keep up with android and ios.

        There are a few third party Win Phone launcher apps, but they're not really close to what Microsoft could do if it put its mind to it. The Microsoft launcher is ok, but it's virtually indistiguishable from every other android launcher.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Having had...

          Microsoft was too late to the mobile party

          Oh now look what you've done, you've made Windows CE cry. It's been around since 1996 and you had to say something nasty like that.

  11. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    Novel idea...

    "When used like a laptop, an area of the Surface Neo lower display becomes a "wonder bar" with a variety of uses"

    In Germany will it be called the "wunderbar"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Novel idea...

      Nein, es wird "Schadenfreude" genannt.

      (by Apple and Google, obvs.)

    2. Erix

      Re: Novel idea...

      Everywhere else they'll call it a wonderbra because it enhances your cleavage

    3. JDPower

      Re: Novel idea...

      And Tenpole Tudor as the startup tune. (it's suddenly appealing to me lol)

  12. johnnyblaze


    Talk about confusing - for everyone. Two devices (both Surface), but different operating systems and app support. It's almost like MS are hedging their bets, because they've f*cked up so many times. From what I've heard, the UI on the Windows device is diabolical, with so many functions removed and apps only running full screen. Common Windows UI features have been dumped, and the file explorer is straight from Win10 Mobile. Honestly, MS couldn't alienate users and developers more if they tried. I can tell you one other thing, with the 'Surface' name, these things will be expensive too. Cue more sighs and 'maybe next time MS'!

  13. Aussie Doc Bronze badge


    'Wonder Bar."

    I 'wonder' if 3rd party devs will be left in the lurch by M$ again when it decides this wasn't such a good idea after all unless they do their own dev-ing.

  14. Fluffy Cactus

    I don't understand why anyone still even wants to work for MSFT. It's like working for Trump. You are asked to do something that is either impossible or illegal and then you get fired if you cannot deliver something possible or legal. These MSFT must be crazy. I had shied away from calling Mr Satyan Nadella by his real name

    "Satan Nutella", but the more I hear, the more it seems to fit.

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