Google’s Fuchsia and the search for a true universal OS

I was first introduced with computers way back in the late 90’s. Those were probably running on Microsoft Windows 95/98 powered by pentium 3 processors. But I got my hands on a computer way later in 2000’s and in 2010 finally owned one IBM clone PC running on Microsoft Windows 7 powered by a dual core Intel Core i3 processor.

However, on that year I also came to know about something called Android OS. I think I don’t need to clarify what Android OS is. And got my first Android device probably on 2011. It was running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC and 512 MB of RAM and ROM.

Android is a OS developed by Open Handset Alliance led by Google

More than decade have passed since the inception of Android. And it evolved with the rapidly changing electronics market. Now there’s so many devices capable of doing computing way more than the mainline computers of 90’s mentioned above. And most of them are handheld and mobile devices. Now everybody can have a computer on their pocket. And most of these small computers (in terms of size off course) runs atop of Android. And it’s popular.

But. Is it the most efficient? Or is it the most useful, one universal OS for every device?

No. Not yet. I have my first powerful enough laptop to develop Android apps on mid 2017. Yes! I’m not that experienced. But I was an enthusiast along the way. So like all of you, I noticed something really bad on Android, updating methods. Unlike mainline Windows and Linux based PCs, Android depends on various hardware vendors. Also the manufacturing companies modifies the base Android to suit their taste due to it’s open source nature. And this caused fragmentation. Now there’s so much variants of Android UI/Frameworks that updating them takes too much time and efforts and most of the manufactures are not willing to do. This takes Android experience in bad test. Even flagships gets at most 1-2 major OS updates. This is one of the most bad rated thing for Android’s reputation. And Google had a pretty bad headache that they tried to find a way to counter this Android fragmentation. And here comes Project Treble, and APEX.

But it’s same none the less. Updating is faster now with Treble. But that’s it.

Google themselves has created some kind of fragmentation by creating different OS for different devices. They have ChromeOS for Chrome Books and Android for handhelds (WearOS and Android TV, at least are also Android). When they realized that they were shooting at themselves, they added to run Android and Linux apps on ChromeOS (You can already run Chrome Apps on Android).

ChromeOS is a Chromium browser based OS developed by Google for ultra books called ChromeBooks

But is it the proper solution? No. Android isn’t in a position to go mainstream yet. And ChromeOS actually runs atop on a browser.

So can’t we just have a one, universal OS for all of our computing devices? Well! May be.

You see I have envisioned the idea of a universal operating system along with other things way back when I get to know about the different systems and their operating environment. But that was it. No practical implementation whatsoever. Don’t know anybody ever tried this or not. May be until 2016.

On 2016, Google created a repository called Fuchsia and we didn’t know what it is. Then we came to know that it is indeed Google’s new OS project based on zircon kernel. So! Is it here to counter the Android fragmentation or to create further?

Although it’s in a premature state as of now and will take at least 2-3 years from now to become a fully featured OS, we know some sort of insights about it. One of the important thing worth to mention that Fuchsia‘s app system seems to revolve around Flutter, an app development SDK based on Dart.

Dart is cross platform, object oriented programming language developed by Google

Flutter is an app development SDK for Android and iOS based on Dart

Both Flutter and Dart has good reputations being able to run universally on any platform. Actually, you can create apps now for Android and iOS using Flutter and Dart straight from Android Studio.

Also, it is worth to mention that in a recent commit on AOSP, a Fuchsia device and SDK support is added for Android.

I’m not entirely sure if Fuchsia will replace both Android and ChromeOS and become a universal OS or it’s the next Android or it’s just another OS. I hope it’s the former. It has to be! It’s the necessity now! Also look after the Android naming convention. It’s already Q.

What about you folks? Do you think Fuchsia is the new BIG thing? Or it’s just another operating system? Shout out in the comments!

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