Can Android be taken away from Google?
Kirt McMaster introduced himself at The Information’s “Next Phase of Android” event by saying: “I’m the CEO of Cyanogen. We’re attempting to take Android away from Google.” Is this guy serious? While we take a step away from being associated with him but secretly asking ourselves “can it be done?” Cyanogen wants to take control and remove Android from Google’s “tyrannical” hands and plans on “making a version of Android that is more open to its core” to integrate more services.
For those of you who do not know what Cyanogenmod (sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod) is. Steve Kondik is the creator of Cyanogenmod. It is one of the most popular custom ROM’s in the market; that can be installed on almost every Android device out there. It is a customized version of Android; more importantly its based on top of AOSP(Android Open Source Project) led by Google. What’s that you say that Android is owned by Google? Yes and no, because Android is open source meaning anyone can take it, clone it and change it.
Since Cyanogenmod has now become an incorporation called Cyanogen Inc. They closed a round of venture funding to become a commercial enterprise. One of the biggest moves was a collaboration with chinese smartphone start-up OnePlus. OnePlus decided to use Cyanogenmod as their OS. Soon the deal became messy between the two companies, but what it showed was that this was just the beginning of Cyanogen. They soon after entered into an exclusive deal with Micromax. Cyanogen is making great strides to get there OS on as many devices as they can. The best way to do so is internationally, where there are more phones that do not have a third party OS.
Cyanogen has plans on creating their own ecosystem using Android as its foundation. By partnering with Boxer an email client that will become the default email client on its OS, possibly removing Gmail. They are introducing a theme engine that is similar to Themer a launcher currently in the play store. It will allow users to easily switch the phones theme with a click of a button. Cyanogen is also partnering with big name companies like Yahoo to install the Aviate Launcher, and there is talk of possible future funding by Microsoft to have Cortana installed replacing Google Now.
Google has been separating its own apps from Android making any user from any device able to download a Google app on a, lets say, Samsung phone which usually has their own proprietary apps. The reason behind Google controlling their apps is now many third party software wants users to use their own bloated software. Amazon and Samsung have their own app store but they can not compete with the Google Play. Amazon is having a very difficult time not having any Google Services on their devices. This move by Google makes it hard for anybody to just use Android because Google built it Android around their software.
Cyanogen is far from escaping Google but they are planning to break free within the next three to five years. They would need to overcome all the obstacles that other companies have failed to do with Android. To quote Kirt McMaster “Today, Cyanogen has some dependence on Google. Tomorrow, it will not.” So we ask ourselves: One day can Cyanogen be the overseer of Android? Or is McMaster just focusing on the partners that want to bring Google down a few pegs?