Ditching Android? Samsung dallying with Google’s Fuchsia OS

Android and iOS have dominated the mobile operating system world for so long, it is hard to imagine an alternative prying a manufacturer from the two OSes. But that is what might be happening, according to a report published by Sammobile recently.

There are claims that Samsung phones may no longer run on the Android OS, in favour of a new operating system, called Fuchsia, that has been in development under Google for a few years now.

Fuchsia OS has been in development since 2016 and is not based on Android. Instead, it is a completely new operating system built from the ground up and should be capable of running all manner of devices including smartphones, tablets, computers, wearables and IoT devices.

Fuchsia OS is open-source, with Samsung already being on record for having made contributions to its development over the past months.

The new operating system wasn’t open to third-party brands and developers until December 2020. It has now been found that Samsung has contributed new code commits related to F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System), an alternative system built by Samsung for managing files on a storage device (eMMC and SSD). F2FS has replaced EXT4 as the preferred file management system over the past few years. The Galaxy Note 10 was Samsung’s first Android smartphone with the F2FS file system. F2FS enables devices to be able to read data from other devices when permitted by the owner.

Reliable leaker, @dohyun854 on Twitter, says the transition will not be immediate with Samsung preferring to slowly transition its new phones to the new OS rather than a mass switching of their existing devices which has the possibility of going extremely wrong. This transition phase should be expected to last at least for a few years before the majority of Samsung users adopt the new devices running Fuchsia OS.

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It is still unclear whether Samsung will add One UI on top of the new OS from Google or they will resort to creating another proprietary skin, leaving One UI to be exclusively available on Android.

Sammobile understands that Google is the one pushing for Fuchsia OS rather than Samsung. It is reportedly part of the internet search giant’s master plan for phone manufacturers to switch to a new platform built from the ground up. A major difference between Android and Fuchsia is that the new OS will not use the Linux kernel, but new code called Zircon. Fuchsia OS has already been used for the Nest Hub, Google’s smart hub for controlling smart home devices, as a pilot run.

Should Google in the near future prioritize Fuchsia over Android, Samsung will definitely not be the only manufacturer to jump on the new OS. Other OEMs will certainly try it out on a few of their devices and, depending on market feedback, either fully embrace it or go back to Android.

Samsung already being involved in the development process of the new OS gives them an advantage as they have more time to familiarize themselves, while their competitors will get access to it much later in the development life cycle. This head start could make all the difference as we move into uncharted territories.

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Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at criskariuki@gmail.com Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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