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Google has been working on this experiment and everyone is wondering what it’s all about

For the past 8-10 years, the mobile market has been dominated by two brands we are all familiar with: Android and iOS. As we tend to do with technological advancements, we always think the things we know today will never end, but Google has started thinking differently. Since August 2016, Google has been working on what it initially called an “experiment,” Google Fuchsia. Some people think it may be the end of Android. In this piece, I will give you an explanation of this new operating system.

The Get started guide for developers of Google Fuchsia starts with a weird phrase that has an interesting context:

“Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)”

https://fuchsia.dev/fuchsia-src/getting_started

At first glance, this phrase is nothing but the definition of the color and a clear statement of this product being an operating system. But it’s not just that. Pink is a reference to Apple’s first object-oriented, microkernel OS, whereas Purple was the first codename Apple used for the iPhone. My first observation would be… Why so many references to Apple?


Micro-Kernel Operating System

One of the first words that stand out here is that Fuchsia is a micro-kernel operating system. The kernel is the core of any computer, the base program that has control over everything. The “micro” in there refers to something on a very small scale. By being a micro-kernel, Fuchsia will be able to run on any kind of device, from traditional computers or cellphones to IoT devices, such as your fridge or microwave.


Fuchsia could work Cross-Device

Considering the point stated above, we can think Google could use this operating system in order to have the same base throughout all devices. Maybe we hardly notice it nowadays, but the OS running on your phone and computer are different. Even if you have a Mac and an iPhone, the UI may seem similar, but the core is different.

Now another question comes up: What’s the advantage of having the same operating system across devices if we don’t notice it? Well, if you have the same operating system, you only need to create one app and the only thing that has to change is the user interface. But this has to bring some extra considerations. For example, input devices are not the same, phones don’t have a physical keyboard, computers don’t always support touch gestures, some chips like GPS or accelerometers may not be in some computers, etc. That would be something for Google to work on.

Using Fuchsia in 2020

Fuchsia is supported on a couple of devices at the moment. For example, it can be used on an Acer Switch 12, Intel NUC, or Google Pixelbook. This is a feature that is currently only available by building it yourself after following the development guides. There is nothing out there yet that you can buy that uses Fuchsia.

Some things stand out from the documentation:

  1. The build process is called paving.
  2. You need a host machine and a target machine. In other words, you need to build it on a computer and then transfer it to the target device.
  3. You can use it in Linux and Mac OS X.

Programming for Fuchsia

Something that is particularly interesting for Fuchsia is that you can build it in Xcode 11. It will run apps in several languages: Java, Swift, Dart. Up until now, mobile platforms have only had a specific native language, but Fuchsia seems like it will support several.

So this is a summary of Google Fuchsia, still, nothing has been clarified by Google. But from one to the other technology can change. What do you think of it? Do you think it could be successful?

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Until next time!

Evana Margain Puig

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