Google's Fuchsia OS Has New UI, Drops Linux Core

Google's long-rumored Fuchsia OS has finally come out of hiding, and it brings a distinct new user interface, while notably dropping Android and Chrome OS's Linux core in favor of a Google-developed, differently licensed, microkernel. While Fuchsia itself still exists only as an open-source codebase on GitHub, you can actually download, compile, and run parts of the UI on an Android device, which is how the attached screenshots were obtained. The new UI is an extreme change from Android and Chrome OS; it's focused on multitasking, with tabs throughout most of the UI, and the ability to resize and move multiple windows in tablet mode. The whole UI sticks closely to Google's Material Design conventions, and makes use of Google's own Escher graphics rendering convention to do so.

The core of Fuchsia is Google's cross-platform Flutter SDK. The system itself, and apps for it, are developed on Flutter, which can also develop Android and iOS apps. This is how some of Fuchsia's less extreme bits were able to be compiled and run on an Android device. The system also makes use of Dart, Google's own high-performance JavaScript replacement. The UI is codenamed Armadillo, and denoted by a logo bearing a very simple hand-drawn armadillo. The home screen is centered around a user's profile picture and scrolls vertically. Long-pressing app tabs and dragging them on top of one another will put them in a resizable split screen interface.

Google has reportedly earmarked Fuchsia for powerful hardware and "modern phones". Looking at the UI, licensing, and core of the system, it seems like Fuchsia is meant to be everything that Android was supposed to be. While Android is a wonderful mobile OS in its own right, licensing issues, JavaScript, and its roots in the mobile ecosystem of 2008 have caused Google trouble and tied the OS down in the past. Fuchsia bucks this trend and brings Material Design and multitasking front and center, while putting powerful and purpose-made Google-developed protocols and tools under the hood. This is in sharp contrast to Android and Chrome OS, which run on a community-developed Linux kernel, and include many open-source and proprietary code blobs from various sources. For now, Google hasn't said much about Fuchsia outside of what's written in the documentation on the project's GitHub page.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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