Multiple Google Assistant speakers were excluded from receiving the upgrade
Google has been upgrading some devices to its custom-built Fuchsia OS, and the assumption was that the Zircon-powered software would make its way to Assistant smart speakers as well. Google recently pushed Fuchsia OS to more second-gen Nest Hub units to bring parity with the first-gen Hub and the Nest Hub Max, so everything seemed to be going well. Now, Google appears to be pumping the brakes on its Fuchsia rollout.
As reported by 9to5Google, Google has abandoned its plans to upgrade its line of Assistant smart speakers to Fuchsia. This news comes as a disappointment to some fans of Fuchsia, who had hoped that the operating system would eventually replace Cast OS as the underlying software for all of Google’s smart home products.
The Fuchsia team has removed the code for these speakers from the Fuchsia Gerrit, effectively marking them as unsupported. The Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Wifi, and some Android Things-based smart speakers will also not be upgraded to Fuchsia. However, the Nest Hub series of smart displays will continue to run Fuchsia.
There are a few possible reasons behind Google’s decision to abandon its plans for Fuchsia smart speakers. One is that the Amlogic A113L chip used in some of Google’s smart speakers does not meet Fuchsia’s strict CPU requirements. Another possibility is that Google’s sweeping layoffs at the beginning of the year may have affected Fuchsia’s near-term future. 16% of the Fuchsia team was laid off — approximately 400 members — which is no small number.
It’s also possible that Google has simply decided to focus on other projects, but there is no confirmation of the company’s reasoning. Whatever the cause, it is clear that Google is not yet ready to put all of its eggs in the Fuchsia basket. Still, the OS just made it to many second-gen Nest Hub units, so abandoning Fuchsia on smart speakers is a setback for the operating system, but likely not fatal.