Google Fuchsia OS Will Support Android Apps

Google Fuchsia OS Will Support Android Apps
Image: Ars Technica

Google Fuchsia will be the successor to Android. And while that means developers will, over time, need to recreate their applications for the new platform, they won’t have to rush into doing that. And nor will we have to abandon our favourite Android apps when Fuchsia is finally released. Information found in a README file says a new Android Runtime, dubbed ART, will be part of Fuchsia and will allow you to run Android apps inside Fuschia, similarly to Chrome OS.

There’s no offical information about when Fuchsia will officially launch. But with more information becoming available, and not particularly well hidden by Google, it seems the release timeline is starting to get close in on a live date. My tip is that it will debut on the next generation of Pixel devices that we expect to see in October 2019 given the release cycle Google has followed with their previous Pixel smartphones.

9to5Google discovered two Fuchsia-related code repositories that were added to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). One includes a pre-built copy of the Fuchsia SDK, used to create Fuchsia applications and the other looks like a device that could be used by the Android Emulator to run Fuchsia. An associated README says Fuchsia will use ART to run Android applications and that it will be installable on any Fuchsia device.

This will be a .far file, the Fuchsia’s equivalent of Android’s APK packages.

Transitions between platforms are hard. Microsoft has learned that and it was a massive anchor for many years as the company maintained backwards compatibility at great cost. Apple has managed a number of major shifts when it moved to OS X in the late 90s, away from the PowerPC platform in the 2000s and more recently as it’s changed cables and connectors on iOS devices.

Google’s strategy of making information available early and giving developers and users time to warm up to the change is smart. It will be many months before we see Fuchsia in the wild. By then, independent developers will have time to get their hands dirty with the Fuchsia SDK and enough information will become available to allow users to prepare for the switch.