Microsoft gets the ball rolling on Surface Duo apps

The Surface Neo will have to wait a little while longer.

Microsoft has moved one step closer to making its dual-screen Surface devices a practical reality. The tech giant has released a preview toolkit to help developers make apps for its Android-powered Surface Duo, including Java frameworks and emulation that can handle the two-screen device. This is rough code, to put it mildly, but it should help studios get started on the apps you'll use when the Surface Duo arrives late in the year.

People who want to write apps for the Surface Neo and Windows 10X will have to wait a while longer. Microsoft is planning to offer a pre-release version of the relevant Windows developer kit "in the coming weeks" through its usual Insider previews, with a 10X-ready emulator and programming interfaces appearing on February 11th.

The months of lead time should result in a fair amount of apps for both the Duo and Neo when they're ready. Just how many is another question. That might depend on how quickly Microsoft releases more polished developer kits, not to mention overall interest -- you'll only see widespread support if app writers think the new Surfaces (and Windows 10X) hold a lot of potential.