Microsoft Surface Duo -- these clues tell us the launch date is near

Microsoft Surface Duo release date is imminent
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Surface Duo's release date is reportedly fast approaching. The highly-anticipated dual-screen device is coming to market months earlier than expected, according to gossip. With new clues surfacing, the rumors may actually be true.

The first clue? Microsoft is now ready to administer Google's Android compatibility test on the Surface Duo, Windows Latest reported. This suggests that the tablet/smartphone hybrid will make its way to the consumer market soon.

Microsoft is reportedly running compatibility tests on the Surface Duo's Android 10 OS

The Surface Duo will run on Android 10, and Microsoft is poised to execute Google's Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) on the device. CTS is a tool used by engineers to help ensure that the software on their devices is compatible with Android.

Manufacturers are required to pass Google's CTS to use Android's brand name for their devices; it's also a prerequisite for acquiring a Google Play license.

It's also worth noting that Microsoft is planning to update the Surface Duo to Android 11 when the operating system comes out of beta testing later this year.

Microsoft is providing a Surface Duo emulator to developers

Another clue that the Surface Duo is fast approaching? The Redmond-based tech giant has disseminated a Surface Duo emulator for developers to test their applications on Microsoft's APIs, SlashGear reported.

Zac Bowden from Windows Central got a hold of the Surface Duo and tweaked the bare-bones emulator to best simulate an end-market Surface Duo (though Bowden admits that his adjusted version is far from what the retail model may look like). 

Bowden showcased his tweaked Surface Duo emulator in a YouTube video demonstration, and with Bowden's quick hand gestures, viewers can tell that this pre-production Surface Duo is already pretty darn slick.

In the video, Zac gracefully dragged apps from the right screen to the left screen with ease.

Microsoft Office app being swiped from right to left on Surface Duo.

Swiping the Microsoft Office app from right to left on the Surface Duo. (Image credit: Windows Central/Zac Bowden)

With Microsoft Office, Bowden also demonstrated how apps can be dragged to the center of the Surface Duo and take up both screens instead of just one.

Microsoft Office takes up both screens on Surface Duo

Microsoft Office takes up both screens on Surface Duo. (Image credit: Windows Central/Zac Bowden)

Bowden described the Surface Duo's user interface (UI) as fluid and smooth, but of course, it's not perfect -- at least not yet. Bowden added that some apps are not yet compatible with the display-spanning gesture on the Surface Duo, which can cause some strange behavior from apps. 

Spotify app on Surface Duo

Spotify doesn't have a dedicated UI that is compatible enough to span across the Duo's two screens (yet). (Image credit: Windows Latest/Zac Bowden)

Bowden demonstrated this with the Spotify app, adding that the music platform reacted better when it was dragged onto a single screen.

The Microsoft Surface Duo, equipped with two 5.6-inch screens, AMOLED displays, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and an 11-megapixel camera, could launch as early as August, according to some speculators.

We really do hope the launch date is slated for next month -- the suspenseful wait for Microsoft's exciting dual-screen smartphone/tablet hybrid has been too much to handle.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!