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CyanogenMod becomes a company, gets $7 million funding

CyanogenMod is a bridge between users and Android experience which continues to get spoiled by carriers and hardware manufacturers who take forever to bring updates (most of the times these updates never come). CyanogenMod is also known as the open source community around Android where anyone can contribute to the project.

Till now CyanogenMod was known as a hobby project, but that’s changing. The project has now been incorporated as a company. Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, has announced that they have received $7-million of series A funding from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures.

The new company has laid out its goals which are

  • Organize, lead, and support our community
  • Create amazing user experience centered around how YOU work
  • Security solutions that really work
  • Stay committed to building the features our users need
  • No junk
  • Constant updates
  • Available on everything, to everyone

Credit where due, Google has worked really hard to make Android devices as open as possible, considering the reluctancy from hardware vendors. This open ness of Android devices has played a very important role in the success of communities like CM. Kondik admits, “Today there are more open and unlockable devices than ever, but they all have their quirks and wildly different installation procedures.”

The amount of Android hardware out there also makes it challenging for users to install CM on their devices and Kondic wanted to make the installation process as easy as possible. “We’ve done our best to document the process for every device we support on our wiki, but it is still a daunting process for mere mortals. This is not sufficient—installation needs to be easy and safe. This is a great deal of complexity to manage when you are talking about almost a hundred different devices, but we decided to tackle it.”

One of the core change that the inception of the company would bring is make CM available for everyone and not just the enthusiasts. The first step in that direction is ease of installation. CM will make its installer available in the Google Play Store in the coming weeks to make it easier for people to install desired images on their hardware.
CM has also created some other projects which add value to Android. Some important projects include CM Account, Privacy Guard, Voice+, a new version of Superuser, and secure messaging.

While one may argue that stock Android experience offer almost everything that CM tries to achieve, it’s impossible to get pure Android experience on Android devices thanks to carriers and hardware vendors. Google is trying to eliminate that through Nexus Edition but it really can’t compete with an open community like CyanogenMod where anyone can contribute.

The inception of CM as a company is good news for Android as users will now be able to get latest Android immediately instead of waiting for the official updates which may never come.

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The success of CM as a company can send a very strong message to carriers and hardware vendors to get out of the way and let users experience the latest Android experience as and when it’s made available.

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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