Android’s future is with us, not Google, according to Cyanogen CEO


Many things in our world splinter into a variety of subsects. Some of which are political parties, Protestant denominations, and Linux distributions, which includes Android. They all have something in common with that from which they derive, but all claim superiority in some fashion.

Kirt McMaster (CEO of Cyanogen Inc.) recently spoke to a crowd gathered at The Information’s Next Phase of Android event, to say that a new dawn is coming to the Android distribution and the daybreak will show Cid standing triumphant over Andy.

kirt_mcmaster_picture1McMaster is no stranger to saying outlandish things. He’s called Google tyrannical and he’s gone on record stating that Samsung doesn’t have a clue when it comes to designing a mobile operating system.

To be clear, McMaster doesn’t want to get rid of Android. The Seattle-based company’s CyanogenMod is nearly entirely based off of Google’s Linux distro. Rather, he wants his company to be Android’s new overlord. McMaster feels that he would be a more magnanimous ruler than Google has been.

During the time of Android’s inception, Google set out to create a free mobile operating system that was open-sourced and available to all. This is the reason why we see it on so many different smart devices created by a variety of OEMs like Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc. This is also why we see its presence in such a huge range of third party ROMs, which is in fact where Cyanogen got its start.

Over time, Google has been more than aware that it has lost a great source of revenue by making Android free. During the past few years, in an attempt to rein in some control and profits, Google has tightened its clutches around the Android kernel and has forced OEMs to include the next best thing Google has to garner some income: its suite of Google apps must be included on every Android device.

McMaster offers a different vision for Android’s future. He gives Google Now as an example of what an app can truly do if given complete access to the very core of Android, and wants to offer the same ability to third-party app developers.

He goes on to state: “We’re making a version of Android that is more open so we can integrate with more partners so their servicers can be tier one services, so startups working on [artificial intelligence] or other problems don’t get stuck having you have to launch a stupid little application that inevitably gets acquired by Google or Apple. These companies can thrive on non-Google Android.”

While his statements with regard to third-party apps being acquired by Google are profoundly naïve, it would be interesting to see what app developers could do if they were able to offer a program as integrated as Google Now currently is.

McMaster further delved into the possibility of opening up many more app stores to consumers. Among those stores, he hopes to see a Cyanogen app store setting up shop in the next couple of years.

Cyanogen has also been busy lately creating partnerships with a variety of app services and companies. Most noteworthy is its relations with OnePlus, which runs CyanogenMod straight out of the box.

Additionally, and also appearing at the same conference, is its work with Nextbit’s Baton, a cloud-based service desiring to bring a more unified experience to consumers who use multiple smart devices. Its CEO, Tom Moss, was also candid with reporters about Android.

Further reading: Early Android employee says that Android and iOS likely to maintain status quo

Google and Cyanogen have had a peculiar relationship. Just last year, it was rumored that Google attempted to purchase Cyanogen, but both companies were unable to reach a final agreement. Also, Google removed Cyanogen’s CyanogenMod Installer application from the Play Store back in 2013.

Could McMaster be serious about wanting to remove Google from the Android picture? Or is this all smoke and mirrors in some secret attempt to get Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo to want them again?


Source: Android Authority via The Information


About the Author: Joseph Proffer

In 2011, Joseph bought his first smartphone: Sprint's variant of the Samsung Galaxy SII, the Epic 4G Touch. And the rest, as they say, is history. Joseph has been an occasional journalist since his college years at the University of Oklahoma, where he was an opinion columnist for the OU Daily. His main interests have always been science and technology, especially gadgets. He lives in Indiana with his border collie, plotting world domination.

  • DarrenSaw

    Cyanogen is getting rather too big for its boots.

  • JC

    They appeal to a certain sub-demographic of the Android ecosystem, the nerds who get mightily worked up about a bundled Facebook app they can’t delete, or the particular shade of grey that a wifi dialog has as a backdrop. I don’t mean to sound snarky – I was categorically in that camp in the early days of android when serious known security issues were being left unpatched by phone manufacturers and the app bundling was atrocious with much less competition out there, but things have gotten to the state where, really, you need to be somewhat OC to let the state of affairs with a phone ROM drive you to distraction. The vast majority of android users just want a useful phone that does what they want, not spending days constantly experimenting with fonts. I’m also leaving out those that simply enjoy hacking their phone, it’s a hobby, and that’s cool too.
    But yep – he’s starting to believe his own BS.

  • fahadayaz

    “Over time, Google has been more than aware that it has lost a great source of revenue by making Android free.”

    That’s bullshit. Android is open source by design. Google hasn’t just realised that they could be selling it and make money from it. They’ve had a monetisation strategy from the onset and that’s been clear.

    • They’ve made money off of it from the start by their usual means of data acquisition and containing people into the Play Store.
      But it’s been very clear from the past few iterations of Android that they’re roping the beast back in to maintain greater control over it. There are the usual good-guy motives that Google has for doing so (which I do believe) but they also have a profit margin they need to maintain/increase. There’s nothing wrong with that. Their promptness with releasing APIs, tightening control over the kernel, imposing their suite once Android hit a mammoth-size amount of market saturation, etc, all leads to this conclusion.
      Again, I find nothing egregious about it. I’ve always admired Google in its ability to make money and not be a complete douche in return with it.

  • jack

    This guy likes to pretend a lot. Seems like he forgot that his company is nothing more than simple modders and tweakers to what Google has built. The world would lose nothing if Cyanogen was gone

    • Tim Jones

      People using older devices would lose the legacy Android support, as Cyanogenmod is famously known for supporting older devices through the many new versions of Android. Without them, the people using older phones would be left out in the cold as OEMs drop support in favour of focusing on flagships and newer mid-high end devices.

  • Cyaonogen doesen even have one finger of the muscle Goolge has

  • Hung Solo

    Whoo-hoo soon another prong in the fork! I love me some choice. Now if these chinese OEM’s could just crack the u.s. market we’d have an amazing range android flavors that arn’t even google related

  • Jacob Bondt

    This man should be in mental hospital he has a lot of screws loose.

  • Alex

    This man thinks by itself as the new Steve Jobs of android world. The progress of humanity will stop without him!