Google tests Flutter SDK for better cross-platform apps
- Google released an open source software development kit (SDK) called Flutter that aims to help programmers save time in creating apps for different platforms such as Android, Apple’s iOS and Google’s upcoming Fuchsia OS. The search giant announced the release of the initial Flutter beta test at the Mobile World Congress show on Tuesday, according to a company blog post.
- Broadway hit “Hamilton” has an app that was developed with Flutter, which has been in use as an earlier test version for a handful of apps that were featured on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, per Engadget. Google is now working on making Flutter more stable and will add features like inline WebView to display web pages, inline maps and improved routing and navigation features.
- Flutter apps use Google's Dart programming language and can connect to programs written in more common languages, such as Java in the case of Android and Swift or Objective-C in the case of iOS, per CNet.
Brands that want to develop native apps to provide more individualized service for their customers have had to confront the extra time and expense of hiring separate programming teams to create mobile apps for different platforms, notably Android and Apple’s iOS. Google last year began creating Flutter as a way to create apps that have a consistent look and feel across different mobile devices. While not every brand is going to decide to invest in a mobile app, this can still be one of the better ways to engage with loyal customers on smartphones as apps typically offer a more seamless experience and robust array of features than is possible on a mobile website.
With Flutter, Google clearly is cognizant of the demands from brands that seek a more uniform look for apps: “The brand identity and customization of the app's aesthetic design is now becoming more important than strictly adhering to traditional platform aesthetics," Google said on the developer site for Flutter. "For example, app designs often require custom fonts, colors, shapes, motion, and more in order to clearly convey their brand identity."
By urging more developers to start making apps with Flutter, Google is setting the stage for the possible commercial rollout of its Fuchsia operating system, which may supplant Android and Chrome OS. Google still faces many challenges with Android, such as distributing updates among the profusion of devices that run the mobile operating system, which originally was designed for digital cameras, per Digital Trends.
Fuchsia may be Google’s attempt at an operating system that considers smartphones first and can be immediately updated. Android and Chrome OS are based on Linux, while Fuchsia uses a different technology intended for embedded systems. That means Fuchsia would run on a wider variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, wearables, on-board systems for cars and household smart appliances, per 9to5Google. Google may have more details about Fuchsia at its Google I/O developer conference on May 8-10 in Mountain View, CA.