What you need to know
- There are 20 Google-made Android apps preinstalled on Surface Duo.
- Many of them can be disabled or removed if wanted.
- Microsot is also bundling many of its own Android apps.
The Surface Duo is Microsoft's first Android-based smartphone, and it has worked closely with Google to bundle the Play Store and its respective services on the device so that customers can access their favorite Android apps from the biggest Android app store out there. Google requires all phones that come preinstalled with the Play Store to also bundle its own suite of productivity apps and services.
This means that when you unbox your new Surface Duo, you'll find Google apps in-addition to Microsoft's own ones preinstalled. Many Microsoft die-hards will be upset at this news, but it's a requirement by Google for an OEM to have the Play Store included on the device. Here's all the Google apps that come preinstalled on Surface Duo:
- Google Search
- Google Assistant
- Google Calendar
- Google Drive
- Google Duo
- Google Photos
- Google Play Movies & TV
- Google Play Store
- Google Maps
- YouTube Music
- Sound recorder
In addition to the Google apps, Microsoft is also bundling its own Android software. Microsoft Launcher, Edge and Outlook will be set at the default launcher, web browser, and email client on the device. Some Google apps are also set as default, including the Google Assistant, Google Messages, and Google Phone apps.
Google also requires that the Google Play Store app and Google Search bar are placed on the homescreen by default. This is why you won't see the Bing search bar by default on the home page, but the user can easily change this if they wish.
Users will be able to uninstall or disable many of Google's preinstalled apps if they don't want to use them, but many customers actually use Google apps every day, so having them preinstalled might be a good thing for many people.
For reference, here's a list of all the Microsoft apps that are also bundled on Surface Duo:
- Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Office Lens, PDF reader, and More
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Microsoft Edge
- Microsoft OneNote
- Microsoft To Do
- Microsoft News
- Microsoft Authenticator
- Microsoft Bing Search
- Intune Company Portal
- Microsoft Solitaire Collection
- Surface Audio
- Microsoft SwiftKey
Two screens are better than one.
Microsoft delves into the future of foldables with an ambitious dual-screen device, featuring two ultra-thin 5.6-inch AMOLED displays bound by a 360-degree hinge. This pocketable inking-enabled Android smartphone marks the latest in the Surface lineup, geared for mobile productivity.
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the Android Central team.