Google's project in pursuit of a new operating system called Fuchsia is about to switch into overdrive, with the company picking up Apple exec Bill Stevenson to launch the product. That's according to a recent post from Mr. Stevenson spotted on LinkedIn. Mr. Stevenson says that he will begin work on Fuchsia OS's launch as early as next month and his efforts will primarily be focused on bringing the universal OS to market.
The role Mr. Stevenson will play in the launch of the OS harkens back to his first role with long-time Google competitor Apple, beginning in 2004. The executive's role at the time was as a Product Release Engineer working on OS X.
Mr. Stevenson's duties at Google will likely follow a similar range of tasks to those he was responsible for during his first years at Apple. Through 2008, the exec was responsible for triaging and diagnosing application and framework issues across all applications for OS X and managing relationships with third-party app developers and vendors. He also oversaw coordination to ensure software and hardware compatibility, as well as developing test tools and infrastructure.
Following that job, Mr. Stevenson worked from 2008 to 2012 as a Senior Engineering Program Manager and then from 2012 through today as a Senior Manager, Mac/Windows Program Management. Those skill sets will undoubtedly come into play in his new venture as well since the jobs pertain to overseeing OS, release, cloud feature, and build management.
Bringing it all together
The addition of Mr. Stevenson to Google's Fuchsia team will certainly be beneficial to its eventual release but there's still no word on exactly when Fuchsia OS might land or what products it will appear on first. Fuchsia has been in development for some time now and has evolved substantially over its life.
The shortest explanation for the new OS is that it will be based on a custom-made microkernel called 'Zircon' instead of utilizing Linux. Both Android and Chrome OS are built on top of a Linux kernel, which serves those implementations well but doesn't allow Google as much control as it might like in its drive to unify all connected devices.
By building its own microkernel, Google hopes to make Fuchsia a true cross-platform OS. It will run on smartphones, laptops, smart speakers, and other connected home hardware, bringing every part of the IoT and mobile industry under a single roof. It won't necessarily be hardware dependant either and testing has already begun on existing mobile components such as Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon's Kirin 970 chipset.
Making a complicated process easier
Android app developers won't need to rewrite all of their code either since those apps are generally thought to be by the new OS based on previous changes to the AOSP source code. That will be taken further with the new UI being made universal too. The Fuchsia OS UI has been heavily influenced by Android as well, being closely related to its Material Design standards according to the most recent leaks.
Taken in combination, all of that should make using all manner of connected devices a simplified and easy experience for users since each individual product and service will be exceedingly similar to others. Speculation, leaks, and rumors around the new OS have indicated that it could eventually serve as a replacement for all of Google's operating systems, including for wearables and Chromebooks.
Switching over is going to be a monumental task with consideration for the fact that Android owned around 85-percent of the market share in mid-2017, according to an IDC report released at the time. It has mostly maintained that lead in the meantime. Given his long history in managing software and OS releases, bringing Mr. Stevenson on board should make it much easier for Google to accomplish its goals.