Cyanogen raises $7 million to help transform custom Android firmware into a top 3 mobile OS

By on September 19, 2013, 3:30 PM

In the realm of smartphone OSes, it’s essentially a two horse race between Android and iOS, with Blackberry and Microsoft fighting for the third spot. Although it’s unlikely that either Google or Apple will be ousted anytime soon, there’s another viable contender in Cyanogen. The open source replacement firmware is built upon the Android mobile OS, and as of this writing, it has already reached over 8 million people.

According to TechCrunch, the startup has now raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital in hopes of turning this once hobby into a full-fledged business. Steve Kondik, Cyanogen’s cofounder, explained, “This is something that I kind of started for fun when the first generation of Android devices came out. But it just took off and snowballed. And soon people started giving me advice about features that they wanted.”

The real allure of the Cyanogen firmware is that it maintains the familiarity of the traditional Android software, while providing users with enhanced security, improved response speeds, and a slew of customizable features. The latest version of the mod includes a brand-new camera app, a better protected messaging system, and literally thousands of different themes.

A secondary advantage is that new 'experimental' versions are released on a daily basis, while more stable monthly builds are also available. In essence, Cyanogen Mod is an ongoing project, with updates denoting when bugs are worked out and new features are added. 

Unfortunately, the complicated installation process has proved to be a major hindrance to Cyanogen’s success. It currently takes over an hour to successfully install the firmware, with one particular guide referencing the 23 different steps that are involved in the setup procedure. There’s also the innate fear that installing the third-party software could actually damage the phone or void the warranty. “The install process still sucks – it’s pretty brutal,” admitted Kondik.

So what does Cyanogen intend to do with the $7 million investment? Their first plan of business is to address the aforementioned installation issues, developing a one-click installer for Windows. It's also speculated that Cyanogen will announce a partnership with a hardware manufacturer in about a week’s time. Finally, they want to start their rebranding effort with a name change – apparently the name “Cyanogen Mod” isn’t considered consumer-friendly.




User Comments: 9

Got something to say? Post a comment
lipe123 said:

Can you imagine them making an installer that will let you convert a iphone to this?!

That would be a epic kick to apple's nuts and of course apple will sue them haha.

treeski treeski said:

With BlackBerry forced to lay off 40% of the company and possibly get sold off by the end of the year coupled with consistent news that Windows Phone's market share is growing, I really don't think it's a fight between MS and BlackBerry anymore. That said, maybe Cyanogen can give MS a run for their money.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Cool, but I had no idea it was so hard to install. I thought it was just a mod you flashed to your rooted device. Maybe that's what they mean though....

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

1 click.. sigh.. the install right now for Cy' makes homebrewing your V4.3 Wii look like a drag and drop process..

1 person liked this | motrin said:

It is just a mod you flash on your phone. its the prepping you have to do before is what can be difficult. And thats because of phone makers and carriers lock down their phones.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Cool, but I had no idea it was so hard to install. I thought it was just a mod you flashed to your rooted device. Maybe that's what they mean though....

1. Unlock bootloader. If locked bootloader, add another 5 steps here.

2. Wipe device.

4. Flash the files.

5. Final configs.

6. Start device, as if it was out of the box.

It's decently annoying. Also people scared of tech run away from it. Not sure how a 1-click installer will be possible with locked bootloaders...

Nobina Nobina said:

How does it takes 1 hour to install it? I flashed (installed) tons of custom android ROMs on different phones and it takes about 10 minutes for me. I just reboot into recovery and wipe data/cache/dalvik and then flash the ROM which takes about 5 minutes to complete, then reboot and from there I only need to install apps and I'm ready to go.

You don't need to be rooted to do that.

Camikazi said:

1. Unlock bootloader. If locked bootloader, add another 5 steps here.

2. Wipe device.

4. Flash the files.

5. Final configs.

6. Start device, as if it was out of the box.

It's decently annoying. Also people scared of tech run away from it. Not sure how a 1-click installer will be possible with locked bootloaders...

Scripts, the person who made the rooter for my phone made an automated script so all I do is run it in a VM and let it go. It will be annoying making a custom one for each phone but I guess it is possible. As for Nobina, it can take an hour if coming from a clean factory that is completely locked up, if you are already unlocked and rooted then it is much faster.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.