Android 12L comes to the Surface Duo with Windows 11-inspired design language

Android 12L on the Surface Duo 2
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has started rolling out Android 12L to the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2.
  • The update brings Microsoft Fluent Design language with an updated UI, new animations, and some new features.
  • The update comes in at 3.2GB for the Duo 2 and 2.6GB for the first-generation Duo.

Microsoft's Surface Duo devices are finally receiving the big Android 12L update, and with it, they're getting a taste of Windows 11 as Microsoft injects some of its Fluent design language into the software.

Spotted by our pals over at Windows Central, the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 updates are now underway.

The most notable change is the updated UI, which takes after Windows 11. For example, the updated Quick Settings panel resembles the same on Windows, complete with blur effects. The Settings app also has new icons taken from Windows 11, and other small additions are sprinkled around, giving the Android devices more of Microsoft's identity.

"The new user interface updates we’re sharing today focus on building stronger connections between Windows and Duo, driving familiarity using visuals and coherence," Microsoft's senior director of Product Management, Kimmo Lehtosalo, says in a blog post detailing the update. "We’ve maximized the potential for customization within Android to deliver this more aligned experience without sacrificing performance."

There are also some new animations when closing home screen apps. Zac Bowden also points out updated haptics when performing certain tasks.

One notable new feature is the Surface Pen menu that users can customize. Clicking the top of the Surface Slim Pen 2 will reveal a menu pop-up from the bottom of the screen, giving you quick access to whatever apps you set. The menu also allows you to view the pen's battery status and check for updates.

The new Surface Slim Pen 2 menu on the Surface Duo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Of course, Android 12 features are here, too. That includes new wallpapers that can change the accent colors of the system UI. You can go with the predetermined colors or select your own in Settings, similar to most Android phones running Android 12. Microsoft highlights updated widgets that are "more performant and coherent in their style."

There are also Android 12 privacy indicators, which will let you know if any device peripherals are being used, such as the camera or microphone. The update notably omits the Android 12L taskbar that we've seen on other devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

The original Surface Duo received Android 11 in January, making this the second major update for the device this year.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.