With Google I/O right around the corner, it’s not unusual to see some interesting things related to the Mountain View tech giant pop up around the internet. You may have heard rumblings here and there about Google’s mysterious and confusing new OS called Fuchsia. While very little was, and still is, known about what exactly this OS could be, thanks to Kyle Bradshaw over at Hotfix we now have a glimpse of the possible new UI.
So what exactly is Fuchsia? All we really know right now is that it is an in-development new OS built by Google from the ground up and seemingly separate from Android or Chrome OS. Both the latter operating systems are based on Linux, but Fuchsia employs a new custom-built kernel called Magenta. The very alpha UI for Fuchsia, called Armadillo, can actually be compiled into a demo app to run on Android and gives us a sneak peak of what Google might be planning.
As you can see in the screenshots above, Fuchsia could employ a completely new approach to interacting with your smartphone or tablet. A card based interface dominates the screen with a vertical scrolling list of what looks to be open apps (you can see “Email” mentioned on the top left). There is support for both a smartphone and a tablet in the interface and multitasking is right at the forefront. Tapping and dragging the various cards on top of each other brings up split screen view where you can resize and arrange the apps to your liking.
Android has always been very adept at multitasking and if these glimpses of Fuchsia actually pan out, you can expect an even more powerful approach to running multiple apps simultaneously. For example, if the user is on a tablet, there appears to be support for running as many as four apps all one on screen as you can see below.
Another interesting aspect of Fuchsia comes from its new Flutter SDK, which allows developers to create apps in Flutter with just one set of code that is compatible with both Android and iOS. If Google can get developers to switch to their SDK, this would be very powerful as the availability and/or quality of apps between Android and iOS is often a point of contention and Flutter allows for a developer to build an app just once for multiple platforms.
Will Google unveil more about Fuchsia next week during I/O? Hard to know for sure. Google is certainly not being very secretive about Fuchsia as all the code is sitting in plain view, but that doesn’t mean we will see anything official in the near future. As with any big tech company, Google is surely testing all sorts of new products and services internally that may never actually see the light of day.
One thing seems certain: if Fuchsia actually becomes official it very likely could be Google’s next vision of an all-in-one OS that may even replace Android and Chrome OS as we know it. That’s a big leap indeed and not something that will happen overnight, but Fuchsia does have whispers of something more than just a side project.
We will keep an eye out for any more developments about this, but in the meantime check out the video below Hotfix made of the compiled Armadillo UI of Fuchsia in action.