Microsoft's Surface Duo smartphone has been available since August, although still only in the United States. Consensus on the device is generally it is a wonderful piece of tech engineering, but left a lot to be desired in terms of software. Microsoft has been addressing those concerns with firmware updates and now the first update of 2021 is available.
As is typical for Microsoft, there was no update rolled out through December because of the holiday season. That means this is the first firmware update since November. Microsoft will now resume monthly firmware releases through the rest of this year.
Microsoft has reportedly been dealing with a bug that was difficult to squash. It seems this update resolves that bug and also brings a round of improvements and Google's Android security patches from both December and January.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is still not saying when Android 11 will come to the Surface Duo, so that remains for a future update.
The focus of the latest firmware is to make software performance more stable on the handset. It addresses touch input and UI stability. As you might expect, this is not the sexiest changelog, but here is the release note for software version 2020.1211.85:
- Addresses scenarios outlined in the Android Security Bulletin – December 2020 and January 2021.
- Improves Surface Duo UI stability.
- Adds the ability to add a caller to conference calls in certain conditions.
- Improves audio quality when using speaker mode.
- Improves touch stability.
As is always the case, the firmware is arriving on unlocked versions of the Surface Duo. Users running the AT&T model will need to wait for the updates.
Back in November, Time Magazine named the Duo one of the best inventions of 2020. It's hard to disagree, at least from a design and hardware perspective. On the software side, the Duo is more of a mixed bag, hence the lukewarm reviews for the smartphone.
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