Cyanogen, the company behind the popular CyanogenMod Android distribution, recently inked a deal that will help it spread its wings into one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. The company will soon provide its custom Android software to Micromax for the smartphone maker’s new “YU” line of Android smartphones. The news follows a rumor surrounding this deal that first surfaced in October.
This isn’t the first time Cyanogen has inked a deal with a smartphone maker, of course. The OnePlus One also runs a version of CyanogenMod, but this is particularly big news because Micromax is the second largest smartphone maker in India. In an interview with The Verge, Cyanogen CEO Kirk McMaster explained why Micromax tapped his company, instead of simply going with Google’s new Android One initiative.
“We can really make an inexpensive device seem like a much more premium-level device,” McMaster explained. “We’re masters at that. The OEM may have last stopped supporting a device with Gingerbread, and we have Kit Kat running on those same devices.”
The new phones will reportedly come in priced below the $299 tag on the OnePlus One, which is right where a smartphone maker needs to be in India. According to recent metrics from research firm IDC, 78 percent of India’s smartphone buyers are purchasing devices priced below $200.
Unfortunately, McMaster didn’t reveal what we can expect from the new family of phones when they launch, and The Verge said it’s unlikely they’ll ever ship to markets such as Europe or North America.