Always one to make waves, Google is getting ready for the next big thing—a newly announced operating system called Fuchsia. Not much is known about the project so far, but it has the potential to be a game-changer for the tech superpower.
From Android to Chrome OS and Chromecast, Google has a history of creating its own platforms. The new operating system so far is just a mention on GitHub with the caption, “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System).” Building a mainstream operating system is a major undertaking and not necessarily the most glamorous work—operating systems run a device’s most basic operations, from data networks to storage and processing, and are often overlooked in favor of flashier apps, although operating systems are really the heart of a device and what makes it usable and progressive.
The most major difference between Fuchsia and other operating systems by Google is that it isn’t based on the Linux kernel, which has powered Google for years, but instead harnesses the power of the Magenta kernel, which could be better for embedded devices like car dashboards, GPS units, and anything that has a specialized function and doesn’t need an entire operating system. In essence, the new OS is starting from scratch. The new kernel is designed to power Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, which could make Fuchsia strong competition for existing embedded operating system like ThreadX and FreeRTOS. However, Magenta should stand out from the competition because it is designed to scale much better, which allows it to work more easily with devices like smartphones and other embedded devices.
Magenta reportedly has the power to work on anything from smartphones to desktop computers and includes user modes, support for ARM CPUs and 64-bit Intel-based PCs, a capability-based security model, and much more. Google has reportedly tapped into Flutter for user interface and Dart for the primary programming language. Google is also using renderer Escher, which supports a variety of visual effects and color reflections—this development is causing many people to wonder if Google is designing with the Material Design UI in mind, or perhaps even augmented reality. Fuchsia is supposedly being tested on a number of different devices, though that has yet to be verified by people close to the project. Google has yet to respond to any speculation of the features or uses of Fuchsia except to speak in very general terms.
OS of the Future?
As of now, not much is known about Google’s intentions for Fuchsia. There is a possibility that the entire exercise is simply a training or development tool that won’t ever make it to large-scale consumer devices, but that seems unlikely given the time and resources poured into developing a new OS. The most definite thing (though still largely speculation) is that Fuchsia will be used on IoT devices like Google Home and OnHub, especially as Google further develops existing IoT devices and possibly creates more of them. It could limit the OS to devices only used in the Internet of Things, or it could eventually replace Chrome OS and Android and essentially merge them into a new and improve operating system. Google has said that Fuchsia is designed for “modern phones and modern personal computers,” which could encapsulate a lot of things, both inside and out of the current Google landscape.
At this point, Google’s Fuschia is just a somewhat-stealthily announced project with no deadline. We’ll have to wait and see how the project develops and if it will continue to keep Google on the cutting edge of technology.