If you're a die-hard fan of the Android OS, chances are you're pretty familiar with Cyanogen - the company behind the oh-so-popular CyanogenMod ROM for the mobile platform that allows users to tweak nearly every little aspect about their phone or tablet. There are plenty of ROMs available for Android, but CyanogenMod has proven over the years that they're undeniably one of the biggest names out there in this field. The company went official back in 2013 as Cyanogen Inc., and it was in that same year that Cyanogen announced big plans for hoping to create their own mobile operating system that was entirely independent of Android. This wasn't all that surprising coming from a group of modders who were fed up with the increasingly tyrannical grip that Google has on Android, but it was still a pretty big move to want to make. Back in 2013, Cyanogen's former CTO Steve Kondik said that "We feel that the existing devices you can currently buy aren't really designed for the end user. They're essentially designed as cash registers for the companies that make them."
Fast forward to October of 2016, and the future of Cyanogen is much different than what the company had anticipated just 3 short years ago.
First of all, the company is now looking at a brand new CEO. Most recent CEO and co-founder of the company, Kirt McMaster, will be transitioning as the company's new Executive Chairman of the Board. Other co-founder and former CTO Steve Kondik will now be titled as the company's Chief Science Officer, and Lior Tal is now Cyanogen Inc.'s all-new CEO. However, among all of these shakeups, perhaps the most interesting is the fact that Cyanogen is abandoning their dreams of creating their own separate mobile OS. Rather than try to compete with the likes of Android and iOS, Cyanogen will focus on creating virtual mods that OEMs and other creators can implement into stock Android (or other versions of the mobile platform) for the phones that they're creating.
The move is very reminiscent to the company's MOD program that allowed developers to access and edit deeper levels of the Android OS that were previously inaccessible. One of the most notable uses of the MOD program was when Cyanogen worked with Microsoft to add both Skype functionality to the standard Android dialer and the system-wide integration of Cortana that allowed users to access the virtual AI in a similar manner as how Google Now or the Google Assistant is summoned. However, as successful as the MOD program was with Microsoft, the implementation of the process in which the mods were added required developers to access Android's full stack. This process was rather time-consuming and hard to implement, and Cyanogen is hoping to fix those issues with the new way they're going to be implementing these mods.
Cyanogen is hoping to fix those issues
Rather than have to tweak the entire operating system, the new Cyanogen mods will allow developers to easily incorporate various elements from the Cyanogen OS to give their devices added features, security, customization settings, etc. The new use of these mods is certainly a far cry from the idea that Cyanogen once had of creating their own entire operating system, but from a business standpoint, this makes a bit more sense. Cyanogen Inc. has certainly seen better days, and although this move may not be quite as exciting as creating a new OS to compete against Android or iOS, it certainly is a much safer one that could help the company start to generate some much-needed revenue.