On the first day of Mobile World Congress 2016, Cyanogen Inc. announced a new developer platform called as the Cyanogen MOD taking Android development to a new level. This whole CyanogenMod, Cyanogen, and now this Cyanogen MOD is definitely creating a big confusion so let’s just clear out that first.
CyanogenMod – As stated by wikipedia,
CyanogenMod, usually abbreviated to CM, is an open-source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. It is developed as free and open source software based on the official releases of Android by Google, with added original and third-party code. This is a community driver effort.
Cyanogen – The commercial entity which ties up with OEMs to provide an enhanced Android experience combining CyanogenMod’s features and their own exclusive content delivered to consumers as Cyanogen OS.
Cyanogen MOD – This new developer platform announced at MWC 2016 allows developers to build and integrate apps directly to the Cyanogen OS adding more value to the mobile operating system.
Pretty clear. eh?
This platform would enable developers to utilize available APIs to really ramp up access and offer improved user experiences. Cyanogen Inc. is basically taking Android customization to a next level and pumping it with steroids. As the platform allows almost anyone, who can code to customize parts of the operating system that weren’t accessible before.
Microsoft, first to jump in became an exclusive launch partner for MOD has already created a bunch of applications and scenarios where the company’s services are embedded into Cyanogen OS. For instance, Skype integration into dialer interface similar to Windows Phone implementation. This will allow users to choose whether they want to make a call over the phone network or over Skype right from the dialer app.
Before Skype integration is made live, the latest update to Cyanogen OS 12.1.1 already includes Cortana integration which allows users to call on the digital assistant to accomplish tasks via voice commands. This update has already been rolled out for the OnePlus One. Apart from this, OneNote’s integration with the email client, calendar and browser along with interactive lock-screen experience is too coming with the next major update. The interactive lock screen would allow users to see updates from their favorite social networks without having to log into the respective apps (Something similar to Facebook Home Launcher).
Cyanogen is trying to integrate mobile apps that provide stand-alone experiences and have become an essential part of the daily routine. CyanogenMod is well-known for offering feature rich Android experience and our team has always been excited to use CyanogenMod on all our primary devices wherever possible.
When Google showcases new Android build in Google I/O and releases developer beta builds of latest OS, unofficial CyanogenMod builds start to develop followed by nightly builds after a while. As we know a lot of features are integrated into Cyanogen OS, thus the build will take time to become rock stable and bug free. Initial nightly builds are full of bugs, some of the common issues/bugs being massive battery drain, heating issues, hardware buttons not working etc. We have been following CyanogenMod development for over 4 years and have observed that on average it takes 9-10 months to get a solid build of CyanogenMod. Now integrating MODs into the OS might break the OS further and make it harder to eliminate bugs.
Recently Cyanogen announced C-Apps which gives users of CyanogenMod access to apps previously only available exclusively on Cyanogen OS. You could simply download and flash the Cyanogen Apps Package to gain access to AudioFX, Theme Chooser, Theme Store, Gallery, and dialer with Truecaller integration.
We think this new MOD platform is a great idea to integrate apps and deeply embed their core functionality directly into the OS. Cyanogen is launching a program for its OEM and MNO partners (“MOD ready”) which would help enable their devices for the platform. So once the platform goes live, you won’t be downloading several apps as they will be integrated directly into the stock applications. Overall, the concept looks nice but we feel apprehensive about Microsoft taking control over the device. Also we are not sure how many developers want to invest in writing code for these lightweight micro-services. As of now developing applications for Android or iOS is tough and overall share for Cyanogen OS running smartphones is very less. The MOD platform could be a success if OEM’s adopt and start developing apps accordingly.
We expect developers would come up with a lot more innovative and interesting ways to make use of this opportunity to build an intuitive mobile operating system.
We’ll no doubt learn more about the setup and how it can be used sometime by next month, when it starts rolling out for devices using Cyanogen OS 13.0 or newer. Head over MOD’s official website to check out more details.
This story involves joint efforts by Hans Gogia.