Several media reports suggest Google may be experimenting with a brand new OS that’s designed to run on phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices such as smart speakers and TVs. According to Bloomberg, this new OS – dubbed Fuchsia – is set to eventually replace Android and Chrome OS.
Truthfully, those who closely follow the tech behemoth were already aware of the Fuchsia project. In fact, the company originally uploaded the source code to GitHub back in 2016. However, this new reporting has shed light on some of the more obscure details about the undertaking – namely why they’re diverting from Android and Chrome OS as well as what we can expect to be improved upon.
Many theorize the main motivation behind Google’s transition away from their present crop of OSes is to avoid future lawsuits. Currently, Alphabet – Google’s parent company – is embroiled in a taut legal battle with Oracle, a company that specializes in database and cloud-based software. Interesting, Oracle also owns the rights to Java – the primary programming language that powers Android. By moving away from Java, Google frees itself from distribution restraints and avoids further misuse allegations from Oracle.
As far as improvements, there are many. Fuchsia is reportedly being designed to offer much more flexibility than Chrome and Android. Whereas these existing OSes are relegated to specific domains, that is, Chrome OS for laptops and Android for mobile devices, Fuchsia will be one OS for all devices.
We’re led to believe Google aspires to design its new user experience to be reminiscent of Apple’s OSes. People who’ve used an up-to-date iPhone, Macbook and iPad will attest to the fact that there’s a very consistent theme among the devices. On the other hand, the Android user experience can be wholly unique from one device to another, even if both are up-to-date.
In addition, The Verge is reporting that Google intends to engineer Fuchsia to be more secure than Android presently is. This has led many to speculate that the new OS will be more tightly controlled, again, a proposal that reminds some tech enthusiasts of Apple.
It’s worth noting that Fuchsia is entirely experimental at this point. Of the nearly 90,000 employees that work for the tech giant, only about 100 are currently dedicated to this project.
It was recently reported by CNet and others that customers would start seeing Fuchsia-powered IoT products within 3 years followed by larger products like phones, tablets, and laptops within 5 years. These optimistic reports have since been toned down. Google has downplayed the hype saying Fuchsia is just “one of many experimental open-source projects,” and has no official timeline for its release.