Google Unveils Developer Site For Mystery ‘Fuchsia’ Operating System

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The open source project runs on Google’s custom ‘Zircon’ kernel, and some have speculated it could be the successor to Android

Google has unveiled a developer support site for its mysterious Fuchsia open source operating system, which some have speculated may be the successor to Android.

The software has attracted attention in part because it’s based on a custom-built kernel called Zircon, rather than the Linux kernel that powers Android and Chrome OS.

The new site, fuchsia.dev, is the latest sign that Google is devoting significant resources to Fuchsia and may be preparing to put it into the hands of app developers.

It includes basic documentation, including a Getting Started guide and instructions for building and running apps for Fuchsia.

The Google Fuchsia logo. Image credit: Google

‘New concepts’

Fuchsia first came to public awareness in August 2016, when it quietly appeared on the GitHub code repository.

It was updated with a graphical user interface in May 2017, and in January of last year Google provided instructions for running Fuchsia on a Pixelbook.

Google discussed the project at its I/O developer conference in May of this year, with Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Google senior vice president overseeing Android, Chrome OS and Play, calling it an experiment aimed at “trying new concepts around operating systems”.

He downplayed the idea that Fuchsia could supplant Android, suggesting Fuchsia could be used in “Internet of Things” connected devices.

The future of Android?

“I think there’s a lot of room for multiple operating systems with different strengths and specialisations,” he said at the event, according to 9to5 Google. “Fuchsia is one of those things and so, stay tuned.”

Industry watchers have, however, noted that Fuchsia’s code appears to allow it to run on a range of devices, including automobile dashboard systems and watches, but also smartphones, tablets and desktops.

Google’s custom kernel, Zircon, formerly called Magenta, is based on “Little Kernel”, a lightweight operating system developed to run on embedded devices.

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