The tech giant has reportedly been tinkering on the OS, codenamed “Fuchsia,” for over two years and now has more than 100 engineers working on the project, according to Bloomberg.
Unlike Android, which was designed as an operating system primarily for smartphones and devices with touchscreens, Fuchsia is said to put voice-controls and AI front and center.
“It’s being designed to better accommodate voice interactions and frequent security updates and to look the same across a range of devices, from laptops to tiny internet-connected sensors,” Bloomberg reports.
Engineers currently working the project are said to be working towards getting Fuchsia running on voice-controlled speakers “within three years, then move on to larger machines such as laptops.”
Though there’s still no concrete user interface for Fuchsia — you can see a very early preview build for the Google Pixelbook here — Bloomberg reports the OS is being designed to adjust to “multiple screen sizes.” The goal is to allow Fuchsia to run on TVs, cars, and fridges.
Fuchsia’s underlying architecture also differs from Android. Whereas Android is built on Linux, Fuchsia is based on a microkernel called “Zircon.” Switching from Linux would likely introduce many incompatibilities with older hardware at first, but it would also mean dumping old, slow technologies for newer, faster ones.
Fuchsia is still very much an experiment.
Fuchsia could also give Google a fresh start for tighter control over its software. For example, Google could push more frequent software updates to devices, Apple-style, instead of leaving it up to phone makers and wireless carriers to do so (an extremely slow process many Android owners know all too well).
However, as exciting as it is to hear Google’s working on an Android successor, you might want to reel it in just a little bit.
Fuchsia is still very much an experiment that has yet to be signed off by Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome, Chrome OS & Play. Furthermore, Google’s vice president of design Matias Duarte is reportedly only working on Fuchsia part-time.
The development of Fuchsia is so new, its project engineers haven’t even figured out how apps should look and function yet. A YouTube app built with voice commands in mind is reportedly one app being developed, but it’s still in the experimental phase. 9to5Google hasbeen chronicling Fuchsia’s development if you’re into checking out code and stuff. But again, there’s really not much to see since the project hasn’t officially been defined yet.
Not to mention, Google’s not going to dump Android or its laptop-based Chrome OS operating systems overnight even if Fuchsia becomes a reality within the next five years. The two operating systems power billions of devices and help Google rake in a fortune from online advertising. A transition to any new OS will be slow for sure.
The fact that Google is working on Fuchsia shouldn’t surprise anyone. The future waits for no one and if any OS is going to replace Android, it’s better that it comes from Google themselves. Self-cannibalization is the best cannibalization.