Apple has released the release candidate builds of the next updates to macOS, watchOS, iPadOS, homeOS and tvOS – it’ll be interesting to see what changes have been made beyond the publicly announced ones. The reason I say that is Apple tends to focus on the visible changes where as there are lots of changes under the hood that eventually make their way to the surface as people use it – Safari for example receives regular updates. The last update to macOS 11.3 included a fair number of updates to Safari which bumped the version number from 14.0.x to 14.1 (link).
Google I/O will be kicking off but the rumour mill is already at top speed with rumours of a new version fo Wear (formally known as Wear OS which was formally known as Android Wear), combine that with Samsung working with Google on Google Fuchsia and the rumour that Samsung will come back to the Wear platform with the next watch refresh – I’ll add to the speculation. My guess is that Google Fuchsia is going to be the eventual replacement for the current Linux core with the first device receiving it being wearOS which will use the Android framework sitting upon the Google Fuchsia core. Long term I think we’re going to see Google replace bionic (the code name for the libc that Google uses in Android) with the LLVM Libc that they’re working on (the LLVM libc++ is already used in Android). The benefit of having a microkernel is the ability to allow handset to rely on a stable set of interfaces meaning they can push out updates for Android faster and because the drivers sit in user space they can pushed out through the PlayStore in a piecemeal fashion rather than big updates once a month (which involve risk due to the nature of pushing out big updates all at once rather than a piece by piece approach).
When it comes to Android on the phone, the move away from the Linux kernel will take longer due to it’s wider deployment and greater diversity in SoCs (when compared to wearables which has a limited number of SoCs being used) so you’ll still see vendors shipping Android on the Linux kernel but my guess given how close Google and Samsung working I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing it ship on Pixel and Samsung phones first before anyone else (rumour has it that the Whitechapel SoC will appear in the next Pixel – Google have been working with Samsung on it). It’ll be interesting to see long term whether Samsung Pay has a future or whether we’ll eventually see Samsung Pay merge with Google Pay so it has the same depth and breadth of reach that Apple pay has.
Getting back to the Samsung watch adopting Google Wear, it appears that it’ll also include the adoption of the OneUI sitting on top (link) which makes me wonder whether we’ll eventually see the same when it comes to the built in OS for televisions, moving over to Android TV with a uniquely OneUI look and feel while giving Samsung customers access to a larger array of applications via the play store. I think Samsung is quickly realising the burden of trying to go your own way – nothing gained when it came to delivering a better experience for end users and very little gained when it comes to ‘being less dependent on Google’.