Cyanogen Inc. recently went through a bit of a corporate shakeup, which was bound to alter the direction of the company. They’re still obviously a software company focusing on Android, but the optics have shifted from developing a full Android fork for OEMs, which was their original goal.
The Android landscape has changed since Cyanogen was formed. Cyanogenmod was originally a custom-build ROM with a few tweaks that users could flash on their device to try something new, or to try and keep up with software updates when their OEM or carrier abandoned the device. That concept grew until it transformed into a full blown company that was shipping software for the likes of OnePlus and other manufacturers, offering a genuine alternative to Android that was tightly integrated with Google services.
That alternative OS baked in offerings from outside partners and home grown solutions, including things like Boxer email and Microsoft funding and integration. It was an interesting concept, but it never really took off like anyone expected. The next phase for Cyanogen, since the full OS wasn’t making a big enough splash, is to take pieces of their software and offer it up to partners as a modular system.
This new platform will create dynamic modules that an OEM can use in their current Android setup, whether that’s a highly customized ROM or plain, stock Android. That includes Cyanogen’s extensive cloud backend and artificial intelligence, although it’s worth noting that much of that is probably going to be supported or routed through Microsoft.
This is the beginning of this modular phase of Cyanogen, so while you probably won’t see CM mods being offered next month, it will definitely be something to look forward to in 2017, especially from OEMs that might be trying to supplement or replace some of Google’s Play Services functionality in AOSP.