CyanogenMod is a popular Android mod and if you’re wondering what a “mod” is, it’s basically a different version of Android (or any other operating system) that uses the basic structure of the original Android operating system; something that people can download and install independent of what they get from their respective companies when they purchase their Android devices.
For example, recently I installed CyanogenMod on my old Samsung Galaxy Tab P3100 because I wanted to get rid of the bloated system that I got from the company (although it isn’t rendering Hindi fonts properly, which is a bummer). The device is much faster now and it is devoid of all the unnecessary applications. CyanogenMod doesn’t even come with Google Play and in case you want to use Google Play in order to install your Android apps, you will need to install Google Play at the recovery level. Believe me, it’s not an easy thing to do and you should try installing a mod on your device only if you REALLY know what you’re doing. I went ahead with the installation just because I’m not using my Galaxy tab as a primary communication device so had I messed up the default interface there wouldn’t have been any problem. Anyway, this, is how trimmed down CyanogenMod is – it doesn’t even have Google Play.
According to this report at The Information, the newly-appointed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently had a meeting with the creators of CyanogenMod, exploring possibilities of collaboration. Although I’m not sure why they call CyanogenMod as an “obscure Android software firm” which it certainly isn’t considering the number of people using this version of Android. Could Microsoft be launching an Android version of their Microsoft phones? (Recently HTC launched a Microsoft version of their HTC One M8 – HTC so far has been manufacturing Android-only smartphones). Does it mean they’re not very confident of their own operating system which is being shipped with their smartphones? Or is it just a strategic move?
Android is originally developed by Google but it being open source, anybody can modify it and promote it as a different product and this is what many companies are doing. So all the smartphone companies that don’t want to directly deal with Google, for instance Microsoft, would like to partner with someone who is offering a different flavor of the popular operating system. CyanogenMod is very fast becoming the mod of people’s choice. It has its quirks but which operating system doesn’t? If smartphone companies use the Google’s version of Android, they also have to ship all the whims and fancies supplied by Google. But if they have their own version of Android, they can offer their own versions of installations and since Android controls almost 85% of the smartphone and tablet market, it can be a very lucrative proposition for many companies.