Google's futuristic Fuchsia OS will run Android apps

Google's mystery Fuchsia operating system will be able to run Android apps, if it's ever put on devices.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google's in-development Fuchsia OS and potential replacement for Android will support Android apps if and when it's released for devices. 

A new update to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), spotted by 9to5Google, suggests Fuchsia will use a special version of the Android Runtime (ART) to run Android apps. 

This feature would enable devices with Fuchsia -- which could be anything from PCs to smart speakers -- to take advantage of the abundance of Android apps in the Google Play Store. 

In a note on the AOSP site regarding Fuchsia device targets, Google explains that "these targets are used to build ART for Fuchsia". 

"They differ from usual Android devices as they do not target specific hardware. They will produce a fuchsia package (.far file)."

This means the special version of ART can be installed on a Fuchsia device using a .far file. 

The comment fills in some blanks about recently added Fuchsia repositories in AOSP, which included a Fuchsia SDK for creating Fuchsia apps, and one for a Fuchsia "device". 

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Although Google is thought to be looking to replace Android and Chrome OS with Fuchsia within five years, the company told CNET it has no timeline for this event to occur and still deems it "one of many experimental open-source projects".

Even though Fuchsia remains a work in progress, it has caught the interest of engineers at the National Security Agency (NSA) who've probed the state of the OS's security.  

The NSA's analysis focused on Fuchsia and its micro-kernel, Zirkon. As of last summer, the OS had numerous security flaws but had enough to boot a system, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them. 

The modular operating system is designed to run on machines ranging from low-powered, minimal-resource devices all the way up to PCs.

Previous and related coverage

Google Fuchsia: Here's what the NSA knows about it

Fuchsia is Google's mystery operating system. At the recent Linux Security Summit, the NSA revealed what they've found out about it to date.

Google and Project Fuchsia: Chasing that single OS dream

Will Google's Fuchsia reinvent and replace Android or be more like Microsoft's Midori project?

Google Fuchsia is not Linux: So, what is it and who will use it?

We look at Google's new, open-source operating system and discuss what it is, what it runs on, and more. And, no, it isn't going to replace Android or Chrome OS.

Want to try Google's new Fuchsia OS? Now it's available on Pixelbook

But there are still no concrete answers about what Google is planning for its futuristic Fuchsia operating system.

Google's mysterious Fuchsia OS gets Apple Swift language support

And Google allays concerns that it is forking Apple's popular Swift programming language.

Google's no-Linux Fuchsia: Now you can see what the new OS looks like

Google's under-development Fuchsia OS carries over some concepts from Android but offers a new take on apps.

Google waves goodbye to Linux for new IoT OS Fuchsia - coming soon to Raspberry Pi

Google is building a new operating system and kernel to run low-power and fully-featured devices for the internet.

Google Fuchsia OS development hits overdrive, could replace Android in 5 years TechRepublic 

 More than 100 engineers have been quietly working on Fuschia, which Google plans to use as a single OS capable of running all of of its own tools.

Report: Google's new Fuchsia OS could replace Android -- or not CNET

Update: CNET has learned there's no five-year plan for Fuchsia just yet.

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