News about how Google is working on a new operating system, called Fuchsia, has been circulating since, Android Police reported first it, last August. Fuchsia uses Google’s Magenta kernel instead of Linux, which the company has used for Android and Chrome OS. At the time, it was just a bunch of code and no real indication of what the new OS would look like but now we have our first look.
Here’s a video that Kyle Bradshaw at Hotfix, showing off the Armadillo interface, who also was the one who pointed that Armadillo was the to serve as the “default system UI for Fuchsia”.
But first a bit of background on Fuchsia and the Magenta kernel.
The Magenta kernel is designed for “modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amounts of ram with arbitrary peripherals doing open ended computation.”
All of Magenta’s apps and the interface are written using Google’s Flutter SDK, which was designed to create cross-platform apps for Android and iOS. Apps that use the Flutter SDK, are written in the company’s Dart language and the system and apps are rendered by “Escher” which uses OpenGL or Vulkan APIs to display stuff.
Now onto, some of the new stuff, Fuchsia’s UI has a new name and it’s called ‘Armadillo’. Ars Technica was able to compile Armadillo into an Android APK.
The home screen is a vertical list with your profile picture, the time and battery indicator in the center. When you tap the profile picture, it will bring up a quick settings-like interface, with toggles.
Just above the profile picture is the “Story” which is a “set of apps and/or modules that work together for the user to achieve a goal.” Think of this as the recent apps screen on Android. Users can combine stories together into a ‘Story Cluster’.
By dragging a story card onto another will split the screen and users can split apps 50/50 vertically or horizontally, or even drag a third app for a 33/33/33 split. You can also split two apps into two other split apps. This is far more advanced than the current multi-tasking functionality in Android and is more close to how it works on Windows 10.
Just below the profile picture, is a Google Now-like interface with placeholder cards and a search bar. According to the documentation for Armadillo, it says, “a suggestion is a representation of an action the user can take to augment an existing story or to start a new one. [The] suggestion contains enough information to create the visual representation of that concept.”
All the things that you see in the Armadillo interface and Fuchsia are subject to change, as it’s still under development. At this point, its hard to see what Google has planned for Fuchsia but hopefully we’ll hear more at Google I/O 2017.