Google’s Fuchsia OS Will Be Able to Run Android Apps

Posted on January 4, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Google, Android with 12 Comments

We have talked about Google’s upcoming Fuchsia OS a lot in the last year. Google’s next-gen OS is expected to focus on privacy, and it is a completely new OS that looks and seems to work much different from Android.

Considering that Fuchsia is so different from Android, even on a technical level, everyone wondered whether the platform will support Android apps. Without being able to support Android apps, Fuchsia may not get a lot of traction. Google would have to convince millions of developers to build apps for Fuchsia devices that probably won’t have a lot of popularity at launch, so it’s kind of a big problem for the company. And if you are a Windows Phone fan, you are probably very well aware of that.

So Google is making sure it’s not making the same mistake with Fuchsia that Microsoft did with Windows Phone. Instead, Google is implementing the ability to use Android apps on Fuchsia. 9to5Google reported that the company is making a special version of the Android Runtime (ART) built to run Android apps on Fuchsia. The special version of the Android Runtime will allow developers to compile their Android apps to run specifically on Fuchsia, producing a .far Fuchsia package (aka an .apk for Android app packages).

Of course, considering Fuchsia runs on different kernels and has a lot of technical differences from Android, it’s unclear exactly how the Android Runtime will work on Fuchsia, or whether it will introduce any limitations. That remains to be seen for the time being, though as we get into 2019, we will likely get to know a lot more about Google’s future plans for Fuchsia.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Google’s Fuchsia OS Will Be Able to Run Android Apps”

  1. karlinhigh

    On the Fuschia screenshots shown here, I see "Slow Mode" banners across the upper right corners of the apps. I wonder what those are?

  2. christian.hvid

    "Google is making sure it’s not making the same mistake with Fuchsia that Microsoft did with Windows Phone. "

    Of course, Microsoft did exactly what Google is apparently doing with Fuchsia, which is to provide a compatibility layer that let Android apps run unmodified on Windows Phone. The so-called Astoria bridge was killed in its infancy for various political reasons, and that was probably the real mistake.

  3. obarthelemy

    I'm more excited about Fuchsia than I've been in a long time. When did we last get a brand new, from-the-ground up OS ? Windows NT ?

    I'm a little worried about Google dropping the ball on the fit and polish though. Android and Google's apps have so many idiotic niggles...

    • skane2600

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      The prospect is exciting although I can't help think that if any kind of compatibility is involved some legacy OS design will "leak" into it. I think it would be better if the OS is completed first and then issues like Android compatibility is added later.

  4. skane2600

    It may very well turn out that Fuchsia can in fact run Android apps, but I don't think a comment in a readme file for a project still in early development can be considered verification. Typically many things change between the time a project is started and the time it's released as a product.

    As far as Google not repeating MS's mistake there's a big difference between running desktop programs on a mobile OS and running mobile apps on another mobile or desktop OS.

  5. lordbaal1

    It's sounds like an emulation, and will just slow down apps.

    Why create a new OS for?

  6. Pedro Vieira

    Google doesn't have a good track record when it comes to software.

    Even their latest Pixel Slate is running like absolute garbage due to Chrome OS, delivering crazy amounts of lag and making no-brand chinese tablets feel speedy by comparison. And they shipped it that way. You have to see it to believe it.

    Android also had to go through 5 or 6 major iterations before it could be considered a somewhat decent alternative to iOS (still, the multitasking experience in Android Pie is downright sad in comparison).

    I'm not an Apple fan, but when it comes to software, there's just no competition going on.

    I wouldn't be surprised at all if Fuchsia is canceled due to compatibility issues. Google has mastered long ago the art of scrapping projects out of the blue.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to PeteMiles:

      You can't make that blanket statement about Apple. Yes, elements of iOS and MacOS appear to be somewhat more polished than their competition...but look at how constrained and limited both are. Mac has NO touch support as of yet (vastly reducing its complexity) and iOS is like a toy when compared to all the things Android can do. Google has A LOT more things they are trying to accomplish at the same time, so it makes sense that you see more mistaken paths. While MS has the best productivity software...Google has pretty much everything else. Gmail works great on many different platforms...Google calendar is excellent...Google Maps has no equal...Google Play Music and Movies is no small feat...Android itself has improved remarkably year after year and I find it surprisingly bug-free. Google Home, Assistant and Chromecast are amazing products...I could go on and on. Apple's software looks so good because it is doing so little.

  7. jedwards87

    Android apps on ChromeOS is still such a hit and miss and for the most part a complete mess so I am not expecting things to be any better on Fuchsia. But I wouldn't expect anything else from Google. They should just wait for iOS apps to come fully to MacOS. Apple will show Google how you do something like this right.