One of today’s smartest pieces of mobile software doesn’t come from Apple, Google or even Microsoft. That crown has quietly gone to Cyanogen, which, as of Wednesday, is going to start competing with Android directly by going mainstream. According a post on Cyanogen’s blog, the side project is now an official company—as of this past April, actually—and is allegedly working with an unnamed hardware manufacturer to develop a consumer device.
Cyanogen, essentially, is a replacement firmware based on official Android releases with original and third-party code. The great thing about Cyanogen’s work is the additional features and flexibility it introduces to the Android platform, which is already feature-rich in and of itself. Currently, CyanogenMod has more than 8 million users—probably more—so there are definitely people interested in the platform. The project is being led by Boost Mobile co-founder Kirt McMaster, and will focus solely on building Cyanogen as its own platform.
The company will first introduce an app to the Google Play store in a few weeks that will make it super easy to install CyanogenMod. The current plan is to hit “a smaller group of CyanogenMod-friendly devices,” but the eventual goal is to support as much hardware as possible. As of now, it’s unclear what devices Cyanogen is going after, the company insisted the platform will be expanded as much as possible in the coming months, with possible features such as CyanogenMod accounts and Device Finder services.
By going legit, Cyanogen is hoping to secure its place as the third most popular mobile operating system. Having used CyanogenMod on an S III myself, the company certainly has the portfolio and wherewithal to achieve that goal. Cyanogen says it’ll stick to its familiar model of basing its software off of official Android builds, and attempt to improve some of Android’s biggest problems, including bloatware and fragmentation.
Securing a hardware partnership is one big step, now it’s just a matter of releasing an actual device, and introducing a Cyanogen app that everyone can easily install. Would you ditch TouchWiz and Sense for Cyanogen?