By the end of 2016, Cyanogen Inc., the company that commercialized CyanogenMod and was the force behind the open source mobile operating system Cyanogen OS, will be no more.
Though not directly linked to the event, the move comes after key client OnePlus decided to switch to its own home-grown Oxygen OS for its smartphones. Those who bought the original OnePlus One might remember CyngnOS, the constant flow of nightly builds and the regular updates that eventually brought it to CyngnOS 13.1 with a whole bunch of mods from lock screen Tweet feeds to Cortana letting you take hands-free selfies.
The company’s original intention was to create an open-source Android-based operating system that gave users several features that Google hadn’t brought to Android. It saw some early successes with companies like OnePlus and WileyFox, and it was very useful for phone makers who didn’t have the resources to customize Android for their own models.
With CyanogenMods came new features that allowed users to integrate apps right into their phone’s features, like TrueCaller integrating with the phone app, and so on, and their journey of commercialization began.
The decision to close shop is based on two things, essentially, which are related in a way. First of all, it’s hard to monetize mods when you don’t have a huge user base on your mobile OS. In a small way, it’s similar to the problem that Windows faced with the Windows Phone app – not enough devices or apps to justify user migration.
That led to resource problems, and when OnePlus pulled the plug on Cyanogen OS in favor of its own Oxygen OS, which was the second major tipping point, that put a tremendous amount of pressure on the company. In fact, Forbes contributor Ryan Whitwam reported last month that the company was cutting its staff and getting ready to wind down completely.
But with Android 7.0 Nougat now in the picture, it will be even harder for mods to generate the kind of cash flow required to keep the company afloat.
The CyanogenMod team is, of course, is shutting down their infrastructure, but CM itself will be kept alive in the Lineage repository in GitHub as an open-source initiative. All support for Cyanogen OS will cease no later than 12/31/2016.
Here’s the blog post that also acts as the company’s epitaph:
“As part of the ongoing consolidation of Cyanogen, all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds will be discontinued no later than 12/31/16. The open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.”
Those who have used the mobile operating system with its mods will definitely miss it, but the CM community will still work to “produce a fork of the CM source code and pending patches.” As such, the community will continue to live on, but as new torch-bearers of the CM concept rather than the CM brand which, the community post says, could be sold to a third-party entity.
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