Up until now, phones have been for one person, and one person only. It makes sense: everyone likes their own apps and wallpapers, and no one wants to share their phone like it’s the 60’s. However, Google is working on a new phone and tablet operating system that will be great for device sharing. It’s called Fuchsia OS and it’s the future of smartphone operating systems.
First off, the UI looks beautiful. It follows Google’s Material Design ideas, and looks kind of like Android’s brother. As for how the operating system looks, that’s basically all you need to know right now. That’s all anyone knows. What really matters here is the idea.
When Chromebooks first launched in 2011, the point of them was to have a cloud-based laptop that anyone could log onto and use like their own computer. Before then, most computers were clogged with personal files and restricted to local users. With a Chromebook, anyone with a Google account can now log in and see the exact same layout as on any other Chromebook, theirs or not.
What if this principle was applied to phones and tablets, devices that are still very personal? That’s what Fuchsia aims to do.
Last year at I/O, Google unveiled PWA’s, or Progressive Web Apps. These “apps,” while technically stored online, are designed to take up no space on a device, load quickly regardless of internet connectivity state, work quickly, and feel like a “natural app.”
Through a bunch of complex coding stuff I don’t understand, Google achieves this experience for users. They can now access their favorite apps and services like they are stored on their device, which makes their overall experience better. No more “out of storage” notifications or app updates. With sites stored online, they can be easily updated from the back end to reflect new UI and system changes.
With the combination of PWA’s and “Chromebook-like” account-based storage, Fuchsia could be extremely successful. Google could create a cohesive, fast-loading, highly customizable but very interchangeable OS. Combined with some future iteration of Project Ara, it would be even cooler.
Imagine this, three years from now: A physically upgradeable phone (processor, camera, battery, or display upgrades) combined with an operating system anyone can log into and be up and running in seconds the way they are used to on their own personal device. That might be too much to hope for right now, but I don’t think this future is very far off. Like always, Google is onto something big.