We know that Google already has two operating systems: Android and Chrome OS. Google is currently developing a new operating system called ‘Fuchsia’. Fuchsia is a cross-device, cross-platform and open source operating system from Google. The Android and Chrome OS are based on Linux kernel, whereas Fuchsia is based on new microkernel called ‘Zircon’(derived from operating system ‘Little Kernel’). Zircon is previously known as Magenta. Fuchsia is written in the mix of languages C, C++, Dart, Go, Python, Rust, Shell and Swift. The initial release was on 15 August 2016 on GitHub.
Google has not yet revealed further details about Fuchsia at Google I/O officially. We are still awaiting to know more about Google’s vision on Fuchsia. There are different rumors surrounding the Fuchsia. We don’t know exactly what it’s for, whether if Google eventually replacing Android by Fuchsia, or just another project by Google.
Some interesting clues in the Fuchsia code suggest it can run on everything from dashboard infotainment systems for vehicles, on all gadgets, embedded devices like traffic lights and smart watches, all the way up to smartphones, tablets and PCs.
Free and open source
Graphical User Interface: Fuchsia currently provides two different layouts, mobile design called ‘Armadillo’ and the traditional desktop design known as ‘Capybara’. The mobile design will drop the App Drawer and a shortcut model for a combined view of all recent apps, quick settings, Google Feed etc. The desktop design is still work in progress, using a taskbar that contains only time at right side, a placeholder for quick setting, and something like the start button at left side.
Cross-device OS: In today’s world, almost everyone has multiple devices like phone, desktop, laptop, tablet etc., Google is attempting to run Fuchsia in all devices simultaneously. Maintaining progress and context are some of the challenges with this implementation. If you have signed in with your Google Account on Fuchsia, then your applications get saved automatically across all the devices that are signed in with the same account. In Fuchsia, Google uses ledger as distributed storage, and everything is stored in cloud.
Split-Screen Mode: Fuchsia provides another new feature called ‘Split-screen mode’. Split-screen mode occurs when we drag one app onto another app, then we will enter split-screen mode with those all merged apps by taking up the top and bottom portions as per our linking takes place. We can add any number of apps into this group in order to use them all at once.
Security: Fuchsia provides more security than Android as encrypted user keys are built into the software to ensure that the information is protected every time there is an update in the software.
Armadillo – Mobile layout
Capybara – Desktop layout
In short, Fuchsia is Google’s attempt to unite the entire digital world under a single operating system. Not only it will look the same across a range of devices like various digital gadgets, PC, mobile phones etc., it is also designed to better accommodate voice interactions and provide more frequent security updates. We have to wait and watch to see whether Fuchsia would replace Android and Chrome OS or it would just become a part of them.
- Aswin Sasi