When Microsoft introduced the Surface Duo late last year, it confirmed that it would be using Android as the operating system for the dual-screened device. As the official launch date approaches, Microsoft’s implementation of the popular OS looks ready to pass Google’s compatibility check.
The ‘Android Compatibility Program’ ensures that a device using the Android operating system is ‘Android compatible’, ie it can run applications designed for the Android Execution Environment. Think of it as a way to ensure that, even though the code is open source devices that are seen as Android devices can run the same applications. Windows Latest has the details:
“Google sets requirements that manufacturers must follow if they want their phones to pass Android’s Compatibility Test Suite. According to our findings, Microsoft is apparently seeking to get Surface Duo running Android 10 pass Google’s Compatibility Test Suite, which suggests that the launch of the device is imminent.”
Arguably this is a formality for an Android device, but the certification is vital for another part of the Android ecosystem that the public is familiar. Google Mobile Services – which is required to have the Google Play Store (and other associated services such as Youtube) – has ‘Android Compatibility’ as part of its requirements.
As Dieter Bohn noted when the Surface Duo was launched, the Surface Duo will be shipping with Google Mobile Servicesm which ensures the widest possible compatibility:
“All of that means the version of Android that Microsoft is running won’t be a fork of Android like Amazon’s Fire OS. It won’t cause fragmentation issues. That right there is Google’s big win. (It also explains why Google was so eager to tell me about its support for dual-screen devices in Android 10. It seemed odd to be so excited about the then-busted Galaxy Fold. Now it makes more sense.)”
Microsoft has been working to ensure that Android itself is able to support the dual-screened devices, offering code back to the open source project with additions including those to the browser and to the base Android Open Source Project. These support the non-standard display tech that Microsot is relying on to help the Surface Duo stand out.
But what may stand out more than anything else is Microsoft’s willingness to embrace Android as a whole. Rather than try to strike out on its own and develop a new ecosystem from scratch, it;s about bringing more users into Microsoft’s cloud of software and services.
Even if you’ll still need to sign into Google when you first open the Surface Duo.