Surface Duo owners recently spotted a baffling change: their dual-screen devices no longer "support" Microsoft Launcher in the Google Play Store. An attempt to open the Microsoft Launcher listing in the Google Play Store on the original or second-gen Surface Duo ends with a message that says the app is not compatible with the smartphone. Also, the store prompts Microsoft Launcher Beta users to uninstall the application.
As it turned out, that is not yet another bug in Surface Duo software, nor a compatibility issue in Surface Duo 2. Vishnu Nath, PM at Microsoft Mobile, explained the situation in his Twitter account. From now on, Microsoft will deliver the launcher updates for Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 via system updates.
Unfortunately, Vishnu Nath did not explain why Microsoft decided to change how the launcher gets its updates. Perhaps, the company wants to decouple Microsoft Launcher for Surface Duo from the Google Play Store to get more control over the app, its updates, and features. Windows Central speculates that Microsoft Launcher might be heading in "a different direction with new code that requires a different delivery method."
Before launching Surface Duo 2, Microsoft confirmed to them that developers consider additional personalization options for the Surface Duo launcher. Decoupling Microsoft Launcher for Surface Duo from the Google Play Store might be one step in that direction.
Surface Duo 2 went on sale last with a $1,499 price tag for the base configuration. The second-gen dual-screen smartphone from Microsoft has already received its "day two" update with various fixes and improvements. Microsoft promises three years of software support for Surface Duo 2, but the quality of those updates remains an unanswered question. The original Surface Duo, in turn, should receive Android 11 before the end of this year.
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The Surface Duo 2 is an awesome product, that is let down by bad software design and Microsoft’s lack of Android experience. Too many basic Android features hinder my daily usage and currently, Bluetooth audio (standard or high quality) is utterly broken and really finding it difficult to notify Microsoft, so they can actually fix it ASAP, as it feels like a software/driver issue than hardware :(