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Microsoft confirms the original Surface Duo will get Android 11 after all

Microsoft Surface Duo
Microsoft Surface Duo (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is preparing to release Android 11 to the original Surface Duo soon.
  • The rollout will start once the validation and certification process for Android 11 is completed.
  • It was supposed to make its way to the foldable phone by the end of 2021, but it didn't happen.

Despite a significant delay, Microsoft has confirmed that the original Surface Duo will receive Android 11 as soon as the validation and certification process for the operating system is completed.

The software giant has told Windows Central that both the unlocked and locked variants of the Surface Duo are set to be upgraded from Android 10 to the next OS version "in the next few weeks." That said, a specific timeline remains unknown.

Kimmo Lehtosalo, senior director of program management at Microsoft, has also revealed that the update was originally planned for release in December 2021. However, the company waited "a few more weeks to ensure a great experience for Surface Duo customers."

Microsoft's confirmation should provide some sort of relief to Surface Duo owners who are two Android versions behind the rest of the pack, while users of the best Android phones are now on Android 12. The company promised last year that it would roll out Android 11 to the first-generation Duo before the end of 2021, but that plan fizzled out.

The Android 11 upgrade for the Surface Duo was completed "for a handful of weeks," but the holiday break postponed its release, according to Windows Central.

Furthermore, the next major OS update for the dual-screen device is said to be Android 12L rather than Android 12. Nonetheless, it makes perfect sense given that Android 12L includes optimizations for large-screen and folding handsets like the Surface Duo.

The final version of Android 12L is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2022. It's not known, however, whether the Surface Duo 2 will be treated to the same update as well, skipping Android 12.

Surface Duo 2 Render

Surface Duo 2

The new Surface Duo 2 comes with a new 5G chip, stereo speakers, more cameras, and a cool way to check notifications while the device is closed, and it may be the most efficient way to multitask.

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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

5 Comments
  • "a great experience for Surface Duo customers." would have been getting Android 11 sooner than 15 months after the release.
  • Especially so now Android 12 is out and the likes of Samsung are rolling out Android 12 to devices. Microsoft are even intentionally not changing Android much like Samsung do with OneUI. It's supposed to be quicker for them.
  • "Microsoft are even intentionally not changing Android much like Samsung do with OneUI"
    That's not entirely accurate. There was a lot of custom work with drivers to get Duo 1 and A10 to work together that now has to be undone for A11, which offers better support. Going forward, as Android gets better (esp 12L) it will get easier. It still sucks it took this long, but Samsung's Android operation is massive compared to the small team at MS working on Duo.
  • Hope this will resolve the last few tiny issues around screen selection when folded with my Duo as I noticed this was improved on Duo 2... I love using mine daily as it is the perfect device for my use case. It is also a great conversation starter with many people enquiring about it... Most having never heard of the device... :-)
  • They promised three years of updates, which means it should get Android 13. But at this rate, at the three year point it won't even have Android 12.