Cyanogen Developing Android OS Without Google - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile // Mobile Applications
09:35 AM

Cyanogen Developing Android OS Without Google

Now flush with $80 million in new funding, Cyanogen is looking to create a unique version of Android that doesn't rely on Google. Will smartphone manufacturers try it?

8 Android Security Concerns That Should Scare IT
8 Android Security Concerns That Should Scare IT
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

With an additional $80 million in the bank this week thanks to some generous Series C financing, custom Android ROM developer Cyanogen is looking to develop a new flavor of the open-source mobile operating system that doesn't rely on Google.

Cyanogen, which has offices in Seattle and Palo Alto, is in the process of developing software that allows operating system users -- in this case, those using Google's Android platform -- to remove software and system files and replace them with new ones to alter the behavior of the OS and the device.

Cyanogen's OS is built on Android, but offers a host of personalization features and is aimed at an audience that no longer wants to be tied to the bundled software and apps -- like Google Play or Hangouts -- that are included with each flavor of Android.

The platform also puts a strong emphasis on security, offering features such as Protected Apps, which let users secure selected apps out of sight, inside secure and lockable folders on the home screen. There's also a clever feature called PIN Scramble, which randomizes the numbers behind the user’s PIN every time.

Among the other features on the Cyanogen platform include the ability to create custom controls, such as removing buttons or selecting actions for different gestures, and Nextbit, which automatically syncs and backs up apps and data between devices.

A March 23 statement by Cyanogen indicated that the money would be used to accelerate development of the OS and as well as hire staff -- the company currently lists 17 open engineering positions, mostly in Seattle, as well as two strategic partnership management positions, one for devices, and one for the platform.

The company may also be getting support from an unlikely source -- Microsoft -- which The Wall Street Journal reported is a quiet investor in the rouge Android startup.

[Read more about the history of smartphone operating systems.]

Led by Premji Invest the funding round also included participation Twitter and a host of telecommunications companies, including Qualcomm, Telefónica Ventures, and Smartfren Telecom.

Additional participants ranged from Access Industries, the US-based industrial group headed by Len Blavatnik to Index Ventures and Rupert Murdoch and Vivi Nevo, among others that remain to be announced.

The company has already received investment support from Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings, which also participated in the latest funding round.

The company claims to have more than 9,000 developer contributors, and has the second-largest repository on Github after Ruby on Rails.

Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Qualcomm that will provide support for certain features of Cyanogen on select Snapdragon processors, including those in the 200, 400, and 600 series.

In addition, Cyanogen features such as the platform's new launcher will also be available for the upcoming Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) program across those tiers of processors.

Among other recent partnerships is an agreement with Alcatel OneTouch, which includes an unlocked HERO 2+ phablet for North America featuring Cyanogen, and is the first phablet with an octa-core processor with the OS natively available on the device.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 1:09:05 PM
What about App Store?Where will users get all the Apps they want/need?

I am all for a version of Android which is more Secure/More Open/Faster but one has to be realistic as well here.

Most Consumers are'nt attracted to Android/iOS because they are faster/Secure/open but because there are more Apps on them than on any other OS around today.

As long as you can/will find Apps for almost everything in the Google/Apple Play store these two OSes will continue to win and see enormous demand going forwards.

If Consumers don't demand them,you won't see OEMs building Phones based on this OS either.

However,if the latest trends coming out of India are a sign of things to come then there is hope for this OS.

India's Largest Smartphone Maker-Micromax ;just launched a new $160 Cyanogenmod OS Phone called as YuEureka and that phone is Soldout(with and orderlist going 6 months forwards).

The Other company which sells Cyanogenmod Phones in India-OnePlusOne(a Russian Firm which has also seen good success selling their phones here in America) is also reporting extremely encouraging sales trends.

Why Does India matter?

India is not just the Fastest Growing Smartphone Market in the world today but also the one market where consumers are looking to upsize /upgrade really fast today.

It has the potential to be the World's Largest market in the next 5-7 years or so(if the Price is right as Consumers there pay for their Smartphones largely in Cash).

All Cyanogen Mod has to do is tie up with another smaller Appstore with less intrusive demands(like Amazon or MSFT) and they should be good to go!!!

Another interesting article looking at this OS


How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll