The original Microsoft Surface Duo shipped with Android 10 out of the box, and the phone’s software experience was famously buggy. Microsoft rolled out a few fixes in the months after release, but the company eventually shifted its resources to bringing the Surface Duo 2‘s updated software (based on Android 11) to the original model. After missing its original deadline, the first Surface Duo finally has its Android 11 update.
Microsoft said in September that Android 11 would arrive before the end of 2021, but the company failed to reach that goal. The update finally started to roll out on Monday (via Windows Central), but only for the carrier-unlocked Surface Duo in North America and Europe — the upgrade for the AT&T Surface Duo is still in the testing phrase. The full changelog is below.
Surface Duo Update (2021.1027.156) 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.
The most important change here is that the Surface Duo now runs Android 11, which includes a Conversations section in the notification shade, built-in screen recording, more permissions options, and other improvements. Microsoft also bundled the January 2022 security patch. Finally, all of the software features from the Surface Duo 2 are present — opening OneNote with a button press on the Surface Slim Pen 2, more options for phone calls, an updated app drawer, a new Photos app, and more.
Earlier this month, Windows Central reported that Microsoft might skip updating the Surface Duo to Android 12, and simply wait for Android 12L to be ready. Google is expected to release the final build of Android 12L sometime before the end of March. The second beta of Android 12L was released for Pixel phones on January 12.