We’ve known for a while now that Google is working on a mysterious new operating system known as “Fuchsia.” Unlike Android or Chrome OS that is based on Linux, Fuchsia is built on a new, Google-built kernel called “Magenta” instead.
It turns out Fuchsia has come a long way from the command line form it existed in when it was first uncovered last August. Google has since added an early user interface to its new operating system featuring a card-based design, as can be seen in Ars Techinca’s gallery of images and the video below.
First discovered by Kyle Bradshaw at Hotfix, the user interface is called Armadillo and is said to serve as “the default system UI for Fuchsia.” Armadillo (along with, presumably, other forthcoming Fuchsia apps) is built in Google’s Flutter SDK, which is used to create cross-platform code that can run on multiple operating systems like Android, iOS, and apparently Fuchsia. All that adds up to mean that it’s possible to compile Armadillo and run it on an Android device today, giving us our first early look at what Google’s next OS could look like.
As seen both in Bradshaw’s video and in Ars Technica’s own compiled version of Armadillo, it seems that Fuchsia is a smartphone and tablet-focused operating system, built largely around a card-based system for managing different apps. Armadillo allows for different cards to be dragged around for use in a split-screen or tabbed interface and seems to include some Google Now-style suggestions, too.
At this point, there’s no real indication of what Google plans to do with Fuchsia. Is it an actual future operating system that the company is building from the ground up to replace Android and Chrome OS? Some third software platform that will live alongside Google’s existing mobile and desktop offerings? Just an experiment to try out new UI, UX, and development ideas that will never see a real release? It’s still too early to say. But with Google I/O right around the corner, it’s possible we might know more about Fuchsia soon.