Microsoft is taking a very strange new approach with the way Microsoft Launcher works on the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2. Spotted by Windows Central, it’s been confirmed that Microsoft Launcher (which basically powers the Duos) will now be updated via system updates instead of the Google Play Store.
This issue was first spotted over on Reddit. There, users mentioned that trying to go to the listing for Microsoft Launcher, or Microsoft Launcher Beta leads to the error that the app is not compatible with the Duo anymore. Many original Surface Duo users thought this was because of the Duo 2 and other compatibility issues, but Vishnu Nath responded to Windows Central’s Daniel Rubino and confirmed/ mentioned that the Duo launcher updates now happen via system updates.
Duo launcher updates will happen via system updates
— Vishnu.one (@VishnuNath) October 27, 2021
Nath’s tweet does not say much officially but there are some working assumptions as to why this is happening. It could be because Microsoft wants bigger controls of Microsoft Launcher on the Duo in ways that Google won’t allow via the Play Store updates. It also could mean that Launcher on the Duo and Duo 2 or Duo could be getting a re-write with new features. Windows Central reports that Microsoft previously talked about more customization options for the Duo, so the second option could be more likely.
Anyway, with Android 12L coming to support Surface Duo 2 and other large-screen devices, there’s a chance that this could be good news. We’ll have to wait and see what the news means and if Microsoft issues any further clarification.