Google’s elusive Fuchsia OS revealed in screenshots

Google's Fuchsia operating system has a new UI for tablets, smartphones

Google has been quietly working on a new operating system dubbed Fuchsia for some time now. A few months ago, Fuchsia existed only as a mere command line, but fast forward to the present moment and we find things have evolved quite a lot.

A new report reveals Google has continued to evolve Fuchsia which now has an early user interface for smartphones and tablets codenamed Armadillo. Unlike Android and Chrome OS, Fuchsia is no longer based on Linux, but on a new Magenta kernel, Google has built itself. As for Armadillo (and probably other upcoming Fuchsia apps), it’s built in Google’s cross-platform Flutter SDK – which allows Android developers to easily port their apps over to Fuchsia.

Fuchsia logo

At this moment, it is possible to compile Armadillo and run it on an Android device, as demonstrated by Hotfix and Ars Technica – which provide us with an early look at what Google’s mysterious new operating system might look like. It’s worth mentioning at this point that Google doesn’t seem to be making any attempt of Fuchsia from public view and even provides indications on how to get started.

From what we can see in the screenshots and video available, Fuchsia appears to be built around a card-based system for managing different apps. The home screen consists of a vertical scrolling list with the user’s profile pic, current date, current location and battery icon located in the center. Above the profile, we can see a series of Story cards which are basically your recently used apps. Below the profile lives a scrolling list of suggestions.

It seems like Fuchsia UI will offer the option of placing apps on top of each other by virtue of long pressing on them. This also generates a split screen that can be configured in a number of different ways: two apps can be split vertically or horizontally, but a third and fourth app can also be added. It doesn’t appear to be a limit on how many apps one can stack together, but Fuchsia does crash if too many apps are added, which suggests Google will be limiting the number of apps allowed depending on the device’s screen size. A tabbed option is also available.

The keyboard UI in Fuchsia OS is also available for inspection courtesy of the screenshots. It appears to be based on the current Android keyboard and includes a dark theme.

Google has been reluctant to offer any information related to its future plans for Fuchsia. It’s quite possible the search giant is merely experimenting with this new UI, but at the same time it can be speculated that Fuchsia could one day replace Android. At this point it’s too early to tell, but we’ll make sure to update you in case of any new developments. Hopefully Google might reveal something about Fuchsia during its Google I/O developer conference which is scheduled to start on May 17.