If you followed the Microsoft 365 Developer Day two days ago, you may know that some demos didn’t go as smoothly as expected for the company. Kevin Gallo, Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft did some live demos showing Android apps running on the company’s dual-screen Surface Duo, but software quirks forced Gallo to switch to a backup device at some point.
Gallo first encountered an issue when he tried to span the Google Maps across two screens. After he failed to that, the Surface Duo prototype apparently became unresponsive, and at that point, Gallo switched to the backup device. Spanning the Google Maps across the two screens finally worked on this second Duo, but the Google Maps app once again became unresponsive after Gallo dragged it to the right screen. He then went on to demo a new app called Xamarin TV on the left screen, but Gallo once again failed to span this app across the two screens.
Gallo deserves credit for keeping its cool during these failed demos, but the footage really wasn’t a good look for Microsoft’s first Android phone. The software giant was apparently well aware of this, and that’s why the company has quietly reshot this Surface Duo segment with Gallo to give us a flawless demo of Android apps on Surface Duo.
The new footage was first spotted by Zac Bowden from Windows Central, quickly followed by a side-by-side video from Rafael Rivera that gives us a much better before/after perspective. Everything works as expected on the new footage, except for some weird flashing animations that sometimes show up after Gallo swipes on the screen. You may also notice that on the reshot segment, Gallo apparently uses an older version of the Google Maps app which doesn't have the new app icon that Google started rolling out a couple of days ago.
1. Here's the old and new Surface Duo demo side-by-side https://t.co/coSbB8YWbD
(It's really late so no perfect timecode alignment.)
— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) February 13, 2020
It's not the first time that a live demo of a new Surface device from Microsoft fails. Back in 2012, the former president of the Windows Division Steven Sinofsky went through a similarly embarrassing situation when he demoed the first Surface device ever, the Surface RT. After the tablet in his hands became unresponsive, Sinofsky was also forced to switch to backup device, which fortunately worked as expected. Sinofsky did leave the company a couple of months later, and we all know that Microsoft's Windows RT effort didn't really resonate with consumers.
Things should hopefully be different for Surface Duo, which Microsoft has announced a year before launch. The dual-screen devices also leverages the most popular mobile platform worldwide with Android, so Surface Duo should be spared from the app gap that killed Windows RT and Windows Phone. Microsoft is obviously doing some work to customize Android for Surface Duo, and that's probably not as easy at it seems. The animations on the reshot Developer Day segment still look a bit rough around the edges, but we expect the company to polish things up before its Build developer conference in May.