Google’s Fuchsia OS: A New Lightweight Version for Android

Google is working on a lighter version of Fuchsia OS to run on a virtual machine on Android.

While Android and ChromeOS have long been the flagship operating systems of Google, the tech giant has been developing another OS called Fuchsia OS since 2016. This new operating system, which made its debut on the first-generation Nest Hub in 2021, is apparently set to step out of the shadows and into the limelight of Google’s future devices.

Google’s Microfuchsia Project

According to Android expert Mishaal Rahman, Google developers are working on a stripped-down version of Fuchsia OS that runs on a virtual machine on Android devices. Even though the exact functionality of Fuchsia OS on Android devices is still unknown, it is speculated that it could improve efficiency and flexibility.

Improved Efficiency and Security

Despite being an open-source operating system, Fuchsia OS isn’t built on the Linux kernel. Instead, it’s based on Zircon, a microkernel. Google claims that the microkernel architecture could “reduce the amount of trusted code running in the system” and bring a new level of security and stability to the system.

Fuchsia OS as an Alternative

While it’s unlikely that Fuchsia OS will replace Android or ChromeOS, it could be deployed by Google as an alternative to microdroid. Microdroid, a lighter version of Android designed to run on on-device virtual machines, could potentially be replaced by Fuchsia OS for more efficient and secure workload performance.

Microfuchsia Project’s Goals

In April of this year, Google initiated a new project called microfuchsia. This project aims to make Fuchsia OS bootable on devices through virtualization, which could significantly expand the potential use cases of Fuchsia OS. The recent patches submitted to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) contain some references to the microfuchsia project, indicating ongoing development and integration efforts.

Virtual Machines and Fuchsia OS

Speaking of virtual machines on Android, Google has already showcased ChromeOS on a Pixel device under the name Ferrochrome to boast Android 15 virtualization capabilities. While Google later said the Ferrochrome project was just a proof of concept, the company was recently spotted having an app called “Ferrochrome launcher” under development. Google’s experiments with virtualization on Android are expected to continue with Fuchsia OS.

The Future of Fuchsia OS

It remains to be seen how Google wants to deploy Fuchsia OS and what role it will play in the future of Android and ChromeOS developments. However, it’s safe to assume that Fuchsia OS is here to leave its impact on the next releases of Google-designed operating systems.