Microsoft’s Surface Duo is an Android-powered dual-screen mobile device that began shipping before Google had really done much to bring native support for dual-screen hardware to Android. So Microsoft built in a bunch of custom features that not only brought support for Microsoft’s apps and services, but also for phones with two screens.

But while Microsoft releases regular security updates for the Surface Duo, the company hasn’t been super-speedy to bring new versions of Android. The last major update came in August, 2022 when the company released Android 12L for the Surface Duo. But now there’s an unofficial custom ROM that lets you install Android 13 on the phone.

Thai Nguyen

The custom ROM was built by software engineer Thai Nguyen, who was part of the Surface Duo team when he worked at Microsoft from 2018 through 2022. But Nguyen’s Pixel Experience GSI for Surface Duo ROM is an independent project that’s not backed by Microsoft.

According to Nguyen, the Android 13 ROM is based on the work of the Pixel Experience custom ROM team, but includes some extra work to get the Surface Duo to react to different “postures” so that it can tell when you’re using one screen or two, and how you’re using them.

The experience “is still very preliminary, with almost no UI customization” though. Among other things, Android 13 hasn’t been modified to notice the hinge, which means that some UI elements may be hidden if you’re using the Surface Duo in dual-screen mode. And there are some other known issues with this build.

Still, it’s always fun when an independent developer manages to bring new software to an older device before the phone maker gets around to it… especially when the independent developer this time happens to be one that used to work for the phone maker in question.

You can find download links, an installation guide, and other information about the Pixel Experience GSI for Surface Duo in a thread at the xda-developers forum.

One thing to keep in mind is that the ROM has only been tested on the first-gen Surface Duo and most likely won’t work on the second-gen version without some additional work.

via Neowin

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  1. I’m part of the handful who still hopes MS comes out with an x86 version running desktop Windows. Maybe a bit bigger/thicker to accommodate cooling and a larger battery.

  2. I regret not buying a Duo when they were being sold at really cheap prices. I remember them selling for like $250-300 at some point? Now they’re $600 minimum.

    1. True^
      Any shit-for-brains willing to pay $600 for a Duo obviously has more money than brains. I won’t feel sorry for anyone that buys this Duo-junk for $600. You can also argue almost all tech falls into this category.

  3. I always liked the form factor of the Surface Duo. It’s a pity they didn’t make a variant with a low-power x86 processor and a light version of Windows or something, cause I bet they would have sold like hotcakes.

    Just my opinion, but I haven’t heard of any releases for a new version of the Duo coming out (someone correct me if I’m wrong please). Perhaps Microsoft gave up on it finally?

    1. Word on the street is that the Duo 3 is going to be a “regular” foldable, i.e. one with a single flexible screen.

      1. If they are smart, they’ll probably figure out a way to stick a Windows 12 on it too. Windows Mobile can use the I’m mobile cop out like Android to excuse its excessive telemetry, whereas on desktop it is harder to excuse this behavior.

        1. Ideally, they should’ve released this device ages back when they had Windows 10 Mobile, and Continuum.

          They could’ve even done a dual-release like they did with the Surface Go. One version with an ARM (Windows 10 Mobile) and the other x86 (Windows 10 Pro). So imagine one with say the QSD 820 chipset, and the other with the Intel Atom x7-8750. Both released around 2015-2017 and with a modest dual-screen, 4:3, 240ppi, 5.0inch, 960 x 720 resolution.

          They could’ve expanded upon that with a second-gen later like 2018-2020 with the likes of the QSD 865+ and the Intel Core-m7-8700y. Then bump up the screen to 4:3, 400ppi, 5.5inch, 1800 x 1300 resolution.

          And maybe even a third-gen version in 2024 with the likes of the QC 8g3 and AMD r7-7840u, and a further bump to 6.0inch, 5:4, 2100 x 1700, 450ppi, dual-screen.