Android 11 finally rolling out to unlocked Surface Duo devices

Kareem Anderson

Microsoft’s Surface Duo team has finally gotten around to getting the highly coveted Android 11 update out to original Duo devices, starting today.

Some of us here at OnMSFT are waiting for the update to hit our devices it seems Android 11 is in fact appear on others as Windows Central is early reporting and friend of the podcast Shane Craig.

According to the breakdown detailed by Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, the update “brings Surface Duo more on par, software-wise, with Surface Duo 2.”

For a quick reference guide, here are the bullet points from the update’s changelog.

  • Upgrades the Android operating system to Android 11.
  • Addresses scenarios outlined in the Android Security Bulletin—January 2022.
  • Enabled launching of OneNote when clicking the top button on Surface Slim Pen 2. It requires Surface Slim Pen 2 to be paired with Surface Duo.
  • Enabled in Surface Duo features, in Settings, to choose preference for answering phone calls when folded.
  • Enabled in Surface Duo features, in Settings, to choose specific apps to automatically span across both screens when you open them.
  • Optimized Quick Settings and notification width for portrait and landscape orientations.
  • Adjust media volume directly from Quick Settings in any device mode.
  • Use thumb mode in Microsoft SwiftKey now with all device modes and application states.
  • Updated app drawer and folder design with improved drag-and-drop support.
  • Refreshed Microsoft feed design with updated cards and new Microsoft Start widgets for News and Weather.
  • Photos by OneDrive: New dual-screen enhanced experience for viewing and editing photos in the OneDrive app.
  • Xbox Game Pass: Discovery and play games from the cloud with an on-screen controller. Some devices, accessories, and software sold separately. Additional fees and/or subscriptions required for some apps and features.
  • Send feedback to Microsoft by opening Settings, then tap About, then tap Give feedback to Microsoft.

In the below walkthrough, there are a handful of subtle UI changes that come with Android 11 on the Duo as well as some new functionality that includes a wider notification shade to hold more information, refreshed Settings layout, new brightness and volume toggles, auto app-spanning, updated Photos app, more support Surface Pen, new Launcher Widgets, and more.

In the vein of the Andromeda talk spurred by Zac’s walkthrough of the defunct OS last week, it seems the Duo team continues its thematic porting of features with one-click OneNote support for the Surface Pen.

The OneNote quick launch is something pulled from the December update for the Duo 2.

Perhaps, most important for original Duo owners are updates to stability, touch responsiveness, and overall performance tweaks that are said to be included in the update.

Unfortunately, the update seems to be only for unlocked devices at the moment.