ANDROID ALTERNATIVE Cyanogenmod, which claims its replacement boot ROMs for Android devices are used by 7.5 million handsets, has announced that it has become Cyanogenmod Inc.
The open source collective that has been providing Android users with an alternative to the stock Android experience - often extending the life of Android handsets beyond the manufacturer's support - has gained $7m in funding and become a corporation. The money will be used to create an installer that will simplify the process of converting your Android device to run Cyanogenmod.
In a blog post yesterday, Steve Kondik - whose screen name is Cyanogen - said, "I have seen open source projects come and go, some being bought out and closed, others stagnating and falling by the wayside. I don't want to see this happen with [Cyanogenmod]."
Explaining his hopes for the future, he added, "What will change is our capabilities, our speed, and our size. I'm not one to let anything stagnate. The next logical steps for [Cyanogenmod] were out of reach previously, and the path forward is clear now. I hope you feel the same."
While the move has been greeted with cautious optimism, a smear campaign on Google+ was in progress earlier today, with allegations that XDA Developers, the portal for Android modification where Cyanogenmod began, had slammed the move as a betrayal of its open source roots. Although no one from XDA was available to comment, nothing anywhere on the site even suggests such animosity.
Cyanogenmod remains the most popular custom ROM for the Android mobile operating system and the total number of users is not measurable due to its open source nature and the privacy options that allow users to not report statistics. However, as well as the projected 7.5m investment, there are countless splinter ROMs created using the open source architecture, designed to cater for specific needs and devices that are not otherwise supported.
Although it is not clear what the business model for Cyanogenmod looks like, the firm is clear that it remains committed to being open source, free of advertising and, "Available to Everyone. On Everything."
It's this last one that raises The INQUIRER's eyebrows. Given the immense amount of work that it takes app developers to get a simple app to work across all of the different screen sizes, chipsets and revisions of the Android mobile operating system, the implication that Cyanogenmod can develop a universal version of its boot ROM is brave indeed. What happens next could be very interesting. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ