Google’s new Fuchsia OS may take over the IoT

Analysts see the new OS as independent of Android and Chrome, set on different market

With Google apparently working to develop a new operating system, speculation is centered on whether the company is looking to play a big role in running the internet of things (IoT).

"The important thing is that this could be Google's bid to supply the OS that runs internet of things-type systems," said Dan Olds, an analyst with OrionX, a technology analyst firm. "This could be an OS to run on sensors that, for example, check on fertilizer levels in farmers' fields or voice recognition features for fitness products. The array of possibilities in these devices is endless and they all need some sort of operating system."

Speculation about what Google is up to arose late last week and focused on whether the company is looking to either add to its OS family of Android and Chrome or to begin to replace them.

According to a report from Android Police, which spotted Google's extremely cryptic and basic description of Fuchsia on the project's GitHub page the new operating system's kernel, called Magenta, is designed to be used on everything from tiny embedded devices to laptops.

Google declined to provide any details about the project.

What's known so far is that Fuchsia is an open source project that does not appear to be related to either Android or Chrome, despite speculation that it could be developed to replace them.

Some analysts think Google is working on a new OS to get in on the ground floor of IoT, which is continuing to grow and evolve.

Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, said it's likely that Fuchsia will be used for something different than Android and Chrome. "I believe they're going to have a different operating system for the IoT," he said. "This could be it."

However, Judith Hurwitz, an analyst with Hurwitz & Associates, sees Fuchsia as more of an experiment for Google than a real project with a specific road map and business goal.

"I think that right now it is a laboratory research project," she added. "It definitely makes sense for Google to experiment with emerging technologies.... Google does a lot of research that isn't tied to a specific product."

Olds, though, thinks that Google sees IoT as a potentially big money maker.

"This is going to be a huge market," he said. "Right now, most of these devices are typically based on Linux operating system variants, but Google could be looking to change that.... If the OS delivers and gets a following, it could conceivably become the OS of choice for millions or even billions of devices small and large.

"I think the sweet spot is in IoT."

This story, "Google’s new Fuchsia OS may take over the IoT" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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