OCTOBER 10, 2016

The Future of Cyanogen — and the Untapped Power of Mobile

Written by Lior Tal, in Inside Cyanogen

Announcing a new Cyanogen Modular OS program 

Change and evolution are a natural part of moving from an early stage startup to a market leader.

Cyanogen has grown and evolved in amazing ways over the years, but we have never lost sight of the goal that the Android community put forward during its early years: empower people to do more with Android and keeping it open and independent.

In keeping with our common mission of creating a truly open, collaborative and unrestricted Android platform, we are today announcing a new Cyanogen Modular OS program. It is designed to achieve the original objective of an open and smarter Android without the limitations of requiring the full Cyanogen OS stack and individual device bring-ups.

The new partnership program offers smartphone manufacturers greater freedom and opportunity to introduce intelligent, customizable Android smartphones using different parts of the Cyanogen OS via dynamic modules and MODs, with the ROM of their choice, whether stock Android or their own variant.

At the same time, the program will offer the broader eco-system and developers the opportunity to tap into Cyanogen’s expanding Artificial Intelligence cloud services, which learn usage patterns throughout the operating system and introduce smarter and more effective ways to resolve intent and interact with smartphones in a personalized and highly contextual way.

The CyanogenMod open source project, from which Cyanogen Inc. was born, was an immensely successful initiative. It led to tens of millions of people flashing their devices with CyanogenMod’s open source builds and its derivatives. The synergy between Cyanogen Inc. and the OSS community resulted in the launch of nearly twenty mobile devices with Cyanogen OS, which have been used by millions of people.

However, in recent years, Android and the mobile ecosystem changed. Android has become extremely fragmented causing serious security vulnerabilities and few or no incentives to device manufacturers to deliver software upgrades and/or security patches. Increased demand for lower-priced smartphones, coupled with the specifications arms race, has left manufacturers focused on scale and efficiency while compromising investment in software and services. Innovation cannot happen in a vacuum, which is what we have today.

All of this has created an opportunity for Cyanogen to break free from its legacy model, which required it to own and deliver the full-stack of the operating system, and instead aim for something greater than the sum of our parts. Cyanogen’s Modular OS program will allow value, independence and intelligence to flow freely between the layers of the ecosystem, providing more companies and developers with the freedom to borrow from, unite and utilize our technology in new and innovative ways.

To best pursue this new and exciting vision, we will be making changes across Cyanogen’s leadership team while keeping our core intact.

As of today, I am proud to announce that I will be assuming the CEO role, and joining the Board of Directors.

Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen’s co-founder, will be taking on the role of Executive Chairman of the Board. Steve Kondik, Cyanogen’s co-founder and CTO, will be taking on a new role as Chief Science Officer. He’ll report to Stephen Lawler, the company’s SVP of Engineering.

I want to thank Kirt and the Board for having the confidence in me to lead Cyanogen to our next chapter of success, and for the opportunity to execute on their vision.

Cyanogen has made great strides over the past few years to create and scale a truly open and unrestricted alternative operating system and application experience. Yet, the need for a more open Android, which offers freedom and independence from any one single company, still remains elusive.

We believe the Cyanogen Modular OS program will help change that by inspiring our industry to embrace freedom and collaboration to once again revolutionize the mobile industry and revive its march toward its full and ever expanding potential.