Google recently launched development of what appears to be a new operating system, code-named “Fuchsia” in 2016. Many smartphone fans have been predicting that in 2018, Google would dump Android and replace it with the new Fuchsia. ComputerWorld pours some cold water on that idea:
From this shallow pool of facts, hopeful commentators have invented several predictions.
The most widespread is that Fuchsia is the do-everything, run-everywhere, support-everything OS of everyone’s dreams.
According to this set of predictions, Fuchsia will replace Android Wear, Android and Chrome OS, but run existing apps designed for those platforms. In other words, future Android phones would ship with Fuchsia instead of Android, and Chromebooks would ship with Fuchsia instead of Chrome OS.
That would spell the end of Chrome OS and Android as we know them and usher in a single-platform utopia for apps that run across all devices.
Chrome OS devices are on the rise in enterprises and increasingly dominant in the education market. Chrome OS is the most Google-y of operating systems because it’s based on a cloud-first model. It’s arguably the most secure business-friendly client platform on the market, and for the same reason. A great many OEMs are happily building Chrome OS devices. Google has no incentive to take risks with Chrome OS.
Android is now the world’s biggest operating system. Close to 2 billion people use Android, and the Play Store is approaching 3 million Android apps, far more than Apple’s App Store. The OS is made available to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), from which OEMs can freely download and modify the software. Google has no incentive to take risks with Android.
But wait, you might say. If Fuchsia runs either Chrome OS or Android apps flawlessly out of the box (or both), then killing off these operating systems would be fine, right?
The answer is yes.
But launching a new operating system of any kind that runs millions of apps written for a different operating system (based on an entirely different kernel) is a difficult feat. Creating a new operating system that’s ready for public use takes many years. And making one that runs apps from two distinct operating systems takes longer still.