With dual-screen devices like the Surface Duo expected to be launched this year, Microsoft is trying to ensure that developers can add support for the new form-factor to their websites, apps and services with relative ease. The company has now added dual-screen support to the built-in F12 emulator in Chromium as an experimental feature that can only be activated by a flag.
According to notes on the Chromium Gerrit, the feature currently supports only the Microsoft Surface Duo and the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but works irrespective of whether the two screens are spanned horizontally or vertically. To implement the dual-screen functionality, the Emulation Bar now comes with an extra button to extend the device view from single-screen to dual-screen. What’s more, the feature works with both hinged (dual-screen) and unhinged (folding-screen) devices.
Microsoft may have shelved its plans to launch the Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo this year, but the company is apparently still on track to launch the Android-powered Surface Duo before the end of this year. Both, of course, are dual-screen devices, which necessitates a significant amount of change to traditional software that were originally designed for single-screen devices.
Microsoft first proposed a dual-screen API in 2019 to help developers improve web experiences for devices like the Surface Duo and the Galaxy Fold. According to the company, developers will need to completely rethink how they work with platform primitives if they are to effectively mitigate some of the inherent challenges of dual-screen and folding devices. The latest addition to the Chromium code seems to be a step in that direction, so it will be interesting to see how that works out in enhancing the experience for end-users.