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Bye-Bye, Android? Google Could Turn to Fuchsia (Report)

In five years time, your future Pixel smartphone could be running the successor to Android.

Credit: Ars Technica

(Image credit: Ars Technica)

That’s according to an intriguing report from Bloomberg on Fuchsia OS, the software Google is grooming to supplant Android, which serves as the backbone of the majority of the world’s smartphones. According to the story, the team behind the project ultimately intends to expand Fuchsia’s reach to all types of connected devices, from handsets to smart home products, computers and beyond.

The roadmap for Fuchsia’s rollout hasn’t been set in stone, and individuals familiar with the plans cited by Bloomberg say neither Google CEO Sundar Pichai nor Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer have formally approved any plan for Fuchsia. Nevertheless, those privy to the strategy believe Fuchsia could debut on smart speakers within the next three years, before potentially expanding to smartphones by 2023.

The impetus behind Fuchsia is Google's desire to construct an operating system rooted in artificial intelligence, voice control, security and uniformity — four pillars that Android’s architects didn’t necessarily make provisions for when the mobile OS was first created. But all four have become increasingly relevant over the last decade.

Security in particular looks to be a primary consideration with Fuchsia. Bloomberg notes that key security personnel have left Android to focus on Fuchsia, and Google is reportedly eyeing a greater frequency of security patches with quicker adoption from users and universal support on all devices running the operating system. That’d be a far cry from the fragmentation that has dogged Android throughout its history.

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Given Google’s ambition to bring Fuchsia to as many different screens as possible, the software is also being designed for maximum compatibility with displays of all shapes and sizes. The iteration of Fuchsia compiled to run on a Linux PC by Ars Technica back in January definitely evoked shades of Android and Chrome OS simultaneously.

Ultimately, as exciting as this news may be, it’s important to remember that everything we know (or think we know) about Fuchsia is subject to change. Migrating a world dependent on Android to an entirely new digital language and experience is an arduous task even for a company with as many resources as Google. Plans will change, timelines will be pushed back and some ideas will be sacrificed. But if Fuchsia can even deliver on some of its promises, it’s going to herald a new age for Google as well as our connected lives.