droidcon webinar recap

Cesar Valiente

Hello Android developers!

Last week, Hakon and I talked about building dual-screen experiences as part of the droidcon webinar series. We were joined by Andras Nemeth from Atlassian, to talk about enhancing the Jira mobile app for dual-screen devices.

You can watch the recording online:

Speaker lineup

Top questions and answers

Here’s a sample of the Q&A available at the end of the webinar.

How would you sell a company on supporting the Surface Duo?

We all must balance product improvements and innovation with the ROI of that work. The approach to a new device like this can be different from company to company. For management that is focused on market share, one approach can be to share the history of the Surface devices, how Microsoft has established new form factors over the course of several years. Applying that consistent approach to new products can give your team an idea of where these new form factor devices can go in the future. For product teams that are interested in pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and want to show their forward thinking by adopting new form factors, we have made it fairly quick and simple on the engineering side so the time investment may be agreeable to many product teams. You can take advantage of having two screens by adding just a couple lines of code.

In Android, there is only one active foreground Activity, even with multi-window. Is spanned just a single app Activity that is displayed across both screens?

Yes, just one Activity in spanned mode.

Will the Surface Duo layouts also work on devices of other manufacturers that have multi-screen support? (is it based on Android libraries or on Microsoft private ones?)

Currently, our libraries are backed by our DisplayMask library, so they are just for Surface Duo, but with the release of Jetpack’s WindowManager, we have been working on migrating our current libraries to support WindowManager instead of our DisplayMask, so as soon as this work is finished, our libraries will be able to work on any kind of new form factor that also supports WindowManager.

You can read more about Window Manager on the Android Developers blog and in the Jetpack docs.

Is it possible to always open an app spanned or to handle that from the application itself?

Right now, applications cannot request to be spanned, it is something the user must do with a gesture.

Having a dual-screen could bring new gaming experiences. Are you working with game developers to integrate their games with Surface Duo with special features?

Yes, we are working with gaming companies to explore dual-screen experiences.

Currently our app appears to treat the dual-screen as one large screen. Are there flags or APIs to force apps to stay on one screen in the interim?

There is not. The user controls whether the application is spanned or not. For apps that do not yet take advantage of the dual-screens, users are able to use the app fully in the single screen mode.

How long did it take Atlassian to add foldable support to the Jira app?

It’s hard to say, it took around two months, but that’s not just Surface Duo work, since there was design work as well (ideas, iterations), and architectural changes. Specific for Surface Duo, it was less than that.

Will there be an easy way to tell whether an application is dual-screen optimized? Or even a list of apps from the Google Play Store that designate this?

We are working on improving the discoverability by leveraging a Google Play Store feature that allows us to showcase a curated list of apps.

… we had many more interesting questions, please watch them all here.

You can also ask questions at any time on our TechCommunity forum if you have additional questions that were not addressed during our webinar.

Coming soon – droidcon EMEA 2020

If you missed this talk, don’t worry! We’ll also be presenting at droidcon EMEA 2020 on October 8th-9th, 2020. Register now and join us for 90+ tech talks, hackathons, roundtables, 1:1 meetings, and more.

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Resources and Feedback

We would love to hear from you about your experiences using the Surface Duo SDK, emulator, and your thoughts on how you can utilize these in your apps.

Please reach out using our feedback forum or on GitHub. You can reach us all on Twitter: @CesarValiente, @HakonStrande, and @replicantnemi, or the Surface Duo Developer Experience team @surfaceduodev.



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