The Impact of Google’s Flutter Layoffs

Google’s recent layoffs have significantly impacted its Flutter and Dart teams. This strategy reflects a broader trend within the company to streamline operations despite its technological ambitions and substantial financial performance in previous quarters​.

Flutter, specifically, is sometimes used in the development of cross-platform Bluetooth beacon applications. The layoffs raise concerns about the continued development and support for Flutter. This situation highlights the risk of relying heavily on a technology that is subject to the strategic shifts and cost-cutting measures of a single corporate entity like Google.

The broader implications of relying on any of Google’s technology platforms are increasingly significant, especially given the company’s history of discontinuing services. Google has often been critiqued for its readiness to phase out products that don’t meet its shifting strategic goals or fail to achieve broad market adoption, as documented by Killed by Google. Nearby Notifications is a pertinent example in the Bluetooth beacon space. For developers and companies, this presents a risk, as investing in a Google service that could be deprioritised or discontinued may lead to sudden needs for migration or loss of support, potentially disrupting product development and increasing costs​.

These developments underline the importance of strategic diversity in technology reliance, especially for critical business operations and product development. They also highlight the need for robust community support and possibly seeking more control over open-source technologies, where the community might step in to provide continuity even if the original corporate steward scales back its involvement.

Using Beacons With Flutter

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google. It is used for developing platform-agnostic applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac and Windows.

The easiest way to use beacons with Flutter is to use a ready-made library. Flutter Gems is a curated list of 5600+ useful Dart & Flutter packages that are categorised based on functionality. They have a section for Bluetooth, NFC, Beacon packages.

Flutter Beacon Plugin

If you want to try Bluetooth beacon advertising from your iOS or Android smartphone there’s a Flutter plugin called beacon_broadcast:

Simulating a beacon from a smartphone is a great way to get started and explore Bluetooth LE prior to buying dedicated hardware devices. However, it’s not something you should progress to regular use because advertising in this way uses a lot of battery power.

Beacon_broadcast is open source and the source code can be found on GitHub.