In Depth

Google Fuchsia: Android app support, release date and more

Tech giant’s rumoured mobile update may create product ecosystem similar to Apple’s range

Newly revealed details about Google’s mysterious Fuchsia project suggest the rumoured upcoming operating system will be able to run Android apps.  

Tech gossip site 9to5Google has spied a new file posted on the site of the Android Open Source Project initiative that says: “These targets are used to build ART for Fuchsia.”

What makes the discovery particularly interesting is that Fuchsia is rumoured to be an operating system that will not only run on Google smartphones but also on tablets and laptops. 

So if Google is developing a special version of ART, or Android Runtime, for Fuchsia, it may be possible to launch Android apps on PCs running the operating system, Engadget reports.  

The news may make Android users “less resistant” to the idea of upgrading to Fuchsia, as they won’t have to worry about “not having access to the applications they’ve been using for years”, the tech site adds. 

Google have been keeping quiet about the Fuchsia project, but Bloomberg reported last July that a team of engineers at the US-based tech giant had been developing a new operating system for the past two years.

The news site said Google had more than 100 experts working on the major software update.

Here’s what else we know about the Android replacement:

What is Project Fuchsia?

In short, Project Fuchsia appears to be a new operating system for mobile devices that is intended to replace the ten-year-old Android software. 

Although Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system (OS) on the planet, Alphr says that the ageing system is “showing some limitations which need overcoming”. An entirely new software architecture is needed, rather than a simple software update, argues the tech news site. 

Little is known about the operating system itself, but Alphr claims Fuchsia will cover the company’s portfolio of hardware products, including the Pixel smartphone and Chromebook laptop range.

This could lead to a product ecosystem similar to Apple’s tablets and smartphones, whereby the Cupertino-based company’s iOS mobile system links together its iPhones, iPads, laptops and smartwatches. 

Fuchsia is also tipped to be “more secure” and easier to update than current versions of Android’s software, adds The Verge.

Has Google given a release date?

Not yet. In fact, the tech giant is refusing to say much at all, stating simply that “Fuchsia is one of many experimental open source projects at Google. We’re not providing additional details about the project at this time.” 

However, speaking to Bloomberg, a company insider said Google plans to launch Fuchsia on “connected home devices”, such as the firm’s Home smart speakers, within the next three years. This would be followed by a move on to laptops and smartphones.

Another source said that Google’s aim with Fuchsia is to phase out Android from the company’s product range but that this isn’t expected to happen for at least “half a decade”, the news site reports.

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