Share this Story

CyanogenMod Forms Cyanogen Inc With $7 Million in Funding, to Release CM Installer App Through Google Play


The CyanogenMod that you have come to know intimately over the last several years is now Cyanogen Inc., a company funded by Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures that wants to make installing CyanogenMod easier than ever on your phone. Announced this morning via the official CM blog, Cyanogen Inc. (with $7 million in Series A funding) can now dedicate their resources full-time to continuing to build “best mobile OS—created by the users for users.” 

Details are scarce at the moment, but the basics are this – CyanogenMod will become an installer, made available through Google Play, that can install CM onto your device with a single click. The app will become available in the “coming weeks” and will likely be free. They haven’t said publicly how they plan to make money, but you can imagine how easy it could be with the millions of users they have already.

According to Engadget, Cyanogen has a partnership already in place with an unnamed hardware manufacturer, but the newly formed company is exploring many potential business models. Their goal is to become the 3rd major mobile platform, even ahead of Windows Phone, Blackberry and other big names.

This newly formed company opened two offices – one in Seattle and another in Palo Alto – and hired 17 full time employees.

A reddit AMA with the CM team will happen at 11:30AM Pacific, in case you have questions or would like to learn all that we can learn.


Via:  CyanogenMod | Mitch Lasky

  • Daistaar

    Wonder why they have iPhones and iPads on that image? Is CM working on iOS?

  • chris420o

    google should just hire these guys…i mean what are they doing that hasnt been done by google their just refining android by adding a few features but keeping it stock

  • umbrellacorp

    I would love to get behind this if any build was ever stable enough to use. There are always revisions but they never complete enough for me to use as a daily driver. Old bugs are fixed that give way to new ones. Bluetooth, battery life, etc. Wish them the best, though!

  • d-rock

    “Their goal is to become the 3rd major mobile platform, even ahead of Windows Phone, Blackberry and other big names.”

    Understand that to do this, they would have to

    1) move away from the Android platform, possibly use the Android Kernel, because it’s open source, but you can’t become a new platform if you’re using an existing one.

    2) Lose access to Google Apps. I promise you that if they start making money off of this that takes away from google, they will NOT get access to Gmail, Youtube, etc.

    3) The un-named hardware manufacturer would have to forfeit their partnership with Google to use an Android Kernel based OS that competes against Google/Android platform.

    My personal opinion is that the use of words in this article or the source of the article is not correct. I can’t see them becoming a separate platform from Android. I could see them becoming a fraction of android compared to Samsung/HTC/etc though.

  • Charles Braswell

    I can’t help but notice that some of the icon’s in the graphic above look like iDevices…

    • fauxshizzl

      Koushik also develops Android devices to get them to work (dare I say it) WITH Apple products. He just yesterday demoed Airplay mirroring to an Apple TV on an HTC One. Not my cup of tea as I don’t have iDevices in my house, but I commend his kick ass developing abilities.

  • Sporttster

    When a whole lot of $$ gets involved, that worries me…..

  • Rafy286

    Not sure how to treat the news. I am happy that finally they are making profit since they really pour their hearts into making this great software. I’ve donated a few times to them when they add support for a device I’m using. But I’m afraid that developers who work with the software now will leave knowing that they probably won’t make a profit outside those 7 employees the company hired. Plus it won’t be something exclusive anymore. I guess we’ll hear more soon.

    • HarvesterX

      Finally making profit? Lol. Sorry, not laughing at you or what typed. With all the donations that they receive (especially when you factor in all that each individual developer may have gotten along the ways) they are far from “finally” seeing a profit. If anything, this is more of an investment on their end.

  • Ryan Powell

    I wonder if the unnamed hardware manufacturer they have lined up is Xiaomi. Didn’t they want to break into the US Market?

    • Steve B

      Doubt it, they’re all over MIUI.

      My money is on Oppo since they already officially support CM.

      • Ryan Powell

        Oh, good call! Would love to see Oppo get more attention.

        • Steve B

          Yeah, they make great devices. The Oppo 5 is arguably the best device of 2013.

  • Steve B

    Via their reddit page, the CM Installer will not initially support devices that require exploits to unlock the bootloader. That knocks out ever Verizon device except the Galaxy Nexus.

  • Anthony

    It would make sense is cyangenomod did this, but offered roms with more customization for people who are rooted

  • Ryan B

    So, if Verizon was smart, they would let this happen. Because people can now buy the phone they want and customize the ugly out of it (hopefully without bricking the phone).
    Either that or, the only phones that will be able to do this are the “unlockable bootloaders” on Verizon’s Developer Editions. Which I have a feeling Verizon will charge to unlock the bootloaders. (if they don’t already)

    • joejoe5709

      My thoughts as well. I’d still want a Nexus but my tears would not be quite as salty if I could easily throw CM on any phone I want.

  • BiggiePhat

    Not sure if I am the only one, but I dislike Koush.

    • joejoe5709

      I wasn’t aware Koush was involved. And yes, you are probably the only one.

    • joejoe5709

      Koush is awesome. Why would you dislike him?

    • Steve B

      Not sure if I am the only one, but I dislike BiggiePhat.

  • Manny

    This is going to open the door to too many bricked or damaged devices. My question is what is going to make this diffrent than Rom Manager or Goo manager or any of the other apps that manage roms? Is it me or does this sound like this company just flushed 7 million in the tank.

    • Luxferro

      It’s just you.

    • Steve B

      Steve Kondik is much smarter than you my friend. Considering what he’s done with Android in a few short years, I wouldn’t doubt any vision this guy has. I’d bet money he’s got a concrete plan for getting devices unlocked and how to recover them.

      • Manny

        I’m not doubting his intelligence but what has he done with android besides make a really popular vanilla rom?
        Just because his name was mentioned doesn’t really mean this is going to work. Or is he also smarter than the executives who’s companies are selling android handsets and are shredding money.

        • Steve B

          LOL, vanilla rom!

        • Reginald Jefferson

          Cyanogenmod hasn’t been a “vanilla rom” in a long time.

  • They need to get a cyanogen phone released… i doubt it’ll be easy and cheap though. but you pay a price for a premium. I would!

  • stabone

    “…even ahead of Windows Phone, Blackberry and other big names”

    Kind of an obvious statement. Who else would they be a head of to be third? lol

  • Steve B
  • Jeremy Martin

    Locked bootloaders will hinder their goal fast. I use CM on my phones but I, have so far, only bought phones with exploits to unlock a bootloader or bought a Nexus. I wonder how they intend to get around locked bootloaders with their installer or are they planning a safestrap/kexec type of installation for locked down devices?

    • DKowalsky2

      Safestrap is a brick waiting to happen on some devices with inexperienced users.

    • xXAaronSXx

      You don’t need an unlocked bootloader to install CM. At least unofficial CM roms. I was running an unofficial CM7 on my Droid X2 that had a locked bootloader.

      • Jeremy Martin

        You had to have been using bootstrap when you installed it then. Phones have been locked up in the Motorola world a lot stronger since the Droid X days.

  • Jimmyjammer

    So it would be the real thing. Not just a launcher?
    Wow thats pretty cool if thats the case.

  • joejoe5709

    Hmmmm… this could be interesting. I’m not fully understanding what this is exactly, but I’m glad to see CM thinking outside the box.

  • lye

    Wow I did not see that coming.

  • Chippah

    They should invest a few mil into unlocking bootloaders, or a way AROUND them to get a TRUE native experience.

  • Bigwavedave25

    Wait a minute… I have a dumb question. You can put Cyanogenmod on an iPhone??? (per the image)

    • Rúben Santos

      Besides the iPhones 4/4S and 5, there is also the Nokia Lumia.

      • Bigwavedave25

        Nowhere on their site is any Apple or Nokia device listed, either in the officially or unofficially supported devices. So that leads me to assume these would be dev community kangs, so not really “supported” by CM?

        Got any links??

        • Rúben Santos

          I only saw those in the picture, maybe it’s just that, a picture which happens to have other phones besides the supported ones.

    • joejoe5709

      Very curious indeed.

  • So I take this as they want to move to their own platform and not Android based? Based on the #3 platform statement.

  • I guess this was project “Nemesis”…much more ambitious than I had ever envisioned.

  • “Their goal is to become the 3rd major mobile platform, even ahead of Windows Phone, Blackberry and other big names”

    Shouldn’t be too hard to do that.

    • NexusPhan69

      I laughed so hard at this that I couldn’t click up-vote correctly the first time.

    • Stephen D

      They probably are already, but get grouped into Android’s market share.

      • joejoe5709

        Lol. Seriously. Especially if you take into consideration all the kanged CM ROMs out there.

      • Jeremy Turnley

        I would not be surprised if there are more phones running CM than iOS to be honest.

  • Miguel Angel Portela

    The CyanogenMod that you have come to know intimately over the last several years is now Cyanogen Inc.

    The CyanogenMod that you have come to know intimately over the last several years

    you have come to know intimately over the last several years

    last several years

    several years


    I feel so old.

  • RaptorOO7

    Its a great idea but with locked bootloaders becoming the norm now with AT&T and Verzion who control the largest portion of wireless subscribers this will be an issue.

    The article says it will be an installer, so how will that work with locked up devices?

  • br_hermon

    Almost guaranteed that VZ will block this on their phones.

    • Almost guaranteed there will be a work-around within weeks, if not days if said “blocking”. We nerds get stuff done.

    • Daistaar

      Not to mention the courts ruled that Verizon cannot be anti-competitive by blocking Apps in the store. Wasn’t that something that allowed people to use tethering apps? Wouldn’t see how the same thing wouldn’t apply here if this would be more of a launcher than full CM.

  • The only issue I see here is that “by users for users” is going to go by the wayside now that there are investors with a financial stake in it. Sure, the first few releases will be “see, there’s no evil here. Everything you’ve known is still here”, but slowly they’re going to start changing things to make CyanogenMod more mainstream to the average user. While increased exposure is always a good thing, I do feel like CyanogenMod is going to lose a lot of the hardcores who have supported it over the years.

    Mark my words, CyanogenMod is going to undergo a radical transformation within 3 years.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      Honestly, I think it will happen quicker than 3 years. If they want average people to get on board, they will need to make it as user friendly as possible, as soon as possible. I think it will attempt to go mainstream ASAP.

  • Guest

    it has begun

  • GJV

    I wonder how ths will affect all of the CM-based “AOSP” ROMs out there, like Slimbean etc.??? Will they have to start licensing CM?

    • NexusPhan69

      I’m hoping/assuming that CM’s ROMs will still be available at get.CM to allow people to more easily dig into their code.

  • Hunter

    Will I have to root to install CM?

  • NexusPhan69

    This opens more doors than people realize. Think if Samsung/HTC et al. put their ROMs on the Google play store. Or if Google does the same with stock. OEMs could just limit the app availability to their specific list of phones. If this is allowed by Google and works, we’re entering into an entirely new world with Android. This could change the entire game.

    • joejoe5709

      One can only hope. If we had a good, reliable way to get around skins with or without root I would care a lot less about having a Nexus. That would make that Verizon LG G2 much more appealing.

  • rutgersjaffo

    Stupid Question: I must be rooted to utilize Cyanogen Mod, yes?

    • NexusPhan69

      Not a stupid question. But yes, you do.

      • rutgersjaffo

        Aw rat farts.

        • PhoenixPath

          What the…I laughed, but seriously…what deranged mind came up with that one?

    • Steve B

      Technically, no, you do not need to be rooted. You do have to have an unlocked bootloader and a custom recovery to be able to install CM.

  • Jeff C

    are we thinking maybe it’s a more streamlined and polished CM Installer than the one provided with CM after you install it? So you know, you don’t need to install it the regular way in order to gain access to the installer?

  • asf


  • No Snoopn

    If I can avoid the google/nsa spying with this, or at least some of it, sign me up! I’ll pay for the privilege.

    • You think your phone is the only way NSA spies on you? I wish.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah that’s adorable.

      • Dre LaHood

        Unlike yo mamas cooch.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Sir, I don’t know why you would be looking at a 70+ year old woman’s cooch, but I’m sure you are right and that it isn’t pretty.

  • Wonder if root will still be required…

    To be honest, this makes me a little sad. I kinda like having to go through recovery and all that stuff to install a ROM. Makes me feel all smart and tech-y 😛

    • Theres an exclusivity to it. I have 3 pals with note 2s, if that can just google play a new rom, i’m going to have to massively step up my game to set myself apart 🙁

      • That’s what I’m saying. You really get that exclusive feel when you see other people running around with Android phones, completely oblivious to what’s possible with the thing they’re holding in their hand.

        • Nate

          I have that feeling all the time. :p

    • brkshr

      They said a couple months ago that they aim to provide features that don’t need root for security reasons. Meaning that they would most likely be writing api’s for various functions/features. Root is not necessary for a lot of things we use it for, it’s just a ton easier.

    • michael arazan

      Would love an app that will unlock, backup, and root your device with a single click, that would make some serious money. And then install a rom with a single click as well. If they could do this everybody would be using roms and they would become mainstream for the everyday user


    why free.. i would pay $5 – $10 buck to be able to that ..

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      “Free” is an easy way to get people on board. then you figure out how you’re going to get paid….See Facebook and Twitter.

  • DKowalsky2

    Will still have to be unlocked and rooted, I’m sure. One click stuff is nice, but if you’re going to mess with this stuff, definitely better off learning how to make a nandroid backup, do a full data wipe and flash the ROM. Can you imagine the first time a phone gets bricked because of CM’s 1 touch install app?

    • Kentholio

      Pretty sure Cyanogen wants to install without giving root access. They have pretty much said so. It also seems that roms are being installed via alternative routes now as well.

      • Walter Partlo

        To get a full version of CM, including the kernel, I would think that one would at the very least need an unlocked bootloader.

      • DKowalsky2

        Agree, but it seems like to get the features that make CM worth it (to most ROM users), those two items would be prerequisites. They could go the route of contracting with an OEM that’s unspoken for (since all the biggies have TouchWiz, Sense, etc.) and compete in that market, or they could create a standalone app that can be applied to any smartphone.

        Without the bootloader being unlocked for kernel purposes and root access for various features, you’re only talking a glorified competitor to Nova and Apex Launchers, and I’m sure with that kind of funding CM is thinking bigger than that. Curious to see where it goes.

  • Bob G

    Guys, this is going to be HP’s comeback into the mobile market!

  • I think this new app will make install MUCH easier, but it will be useless to locked and non-rooted users.

  • Kentholio

    Cautiously excited. If they end up forking Android, they will alienate the people that currently use their ROM. Must tread lightly.

    • Interested to see how Google responds to this heh.

      • Shaunwin

        How do we know they didn’t partner with Motorola, aka Google? Doubtful but would be interesting!

        • moelsen8

          wouldn’t that be wild.

        • Steve B

          That would be amazing.

        • moto hardware done right for the for the first time since the OG droid?! I’d cry.

    • PuzzleShot

      isn’t it technically already a fork of android? Either way, I bet that the hardware manufacturer deal will allow them to do what they did in the beginning: provide Cyanogenmod with Google Apps.

      • Jeff Badger

        Not necessarily. Google is the one that would have to certify the device for Google Apps. Ultimately, Google is the one in control here no matter how much Cyanogenmod tries.

      • Stuff

        As far as I am aware it’s not a fork. They add custom modifications to it, but the bulk of the OS is still AOSP, and not their own forked version of AOSP.

  • enigmaco

    Sounds great just forsee many barriers though, mobile space is not too friendly at the moment. But once released I would not hesitate to put it on my phone, really enjoy having Cyanogen roms on my phones.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    HOLY SH*T STAN! . . . . This is incredible news.

  • This will be amazing. I love the “slimness” and customization of CM

  • Shadowstare

    Sounds great, but i’d bet that $7 Mil in funding that you still have to have an unlocked and rooted phone to install. This new app will make install MUCH easier, but it will be useless to locked and non-rooted users.

    Now if Cyanogen was a launcher…….that’s a completely different story.

    • joejoe5709

      That’s what I’ve been saying all along, but many people shot me down.

  • moelsen8

    so this thing just auto-roots and installs what it needs? sounds dangerous to have out there for the masses. isn’t this the kind of app google kicks off the play store?

    • I don’t think we know if it roots, it may just be an installer after you have rooted.

    • NexusPhan69

      I’d guess it will require root to install CM on the phone but not the installer itself. Same way there are a ton of apps out there that require root access but can be downloaded from the play store by anyone. It just prompts for root access as soon as you open it.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Is that an iphone to the right? I suppose having this as an installer could make things easier. So many questions on how it’s made and who will not support it. Will it require a custom recovery is the #1 question on my mind?

    • mustbepbs

      I’m sure it’s the Galaxy S that was in the lawsuit with Apple.

    • Rammstein

      Looks like an iPhone 5/5S/C and 4/4S. lol

    • Jack3D

      Probably HTC Nexus One and Droid Eris?

      • Steve Ballmer

        Not even close. Those two devices near the bottom right are clearly iPhones…with some iPads too.

        • Daeshaun Griffiths

          Damn the whole team. I wonder what’s that about.

    • joejoe5709

      Yikes. Wouldn’t that be weird! What do they have planned??!!

  • ReturnOfTheMack

    “Best mobile OS”

    Do they eventually plan to brand themselves as their own OS rather than a customized version of stock Android? I feel like they might be considering CM now incorporates their own camera app and account system.

  • Jay Bankhead

    Isn’t this the “geek” version of FUBU? 😉

  • Mario Williams

    Definitely interested since I never bothered with rooting or modding my android phones before (never really had a reason) and because of all the praise I hear regarding CM.

    I have to ask though, what advantages does CM provide?

    • Steve B

      Stock android with some useful tweaks. Smaller software footprint than stock. Usually better battery life and smoother overall performance. But obviously, the mileage varies from device to device.

      • Mario Williams

        Thanks for the reply. I run the S3 with Nova, so I suppose my experience is somewhat close to stock, but having smoother performance and better battery life definitely is a winner.

        • joejoe5709

          I could almost guarantee you’d benefit from CM or a CM based ROM. CM is awesome.

        • Steve B

          I have the same device. What I said about mileage is especially true with the GS3. Lots of ups and downs during its development life-cycle. The current version of CM10.2 for the GS3 is pretty amazing though.

          • Stuff

            WiFi tethering won’t play nice on GS3, but otherwise 10.2 is fairly stable.

          • Steve B

            Not true, I use it ever single day. I use Mastamoon’s build, but it’s virtually the same as the official.

          • Stuff

            I dunno, I can’t get my laptop to connect. Worked on CM10.1, but on the CM10.2 9/16 nightly and I think 8/16 (about a month prior to my most recent flash) it does not. Tries to connect, then either says connection unsuccessful or limited connectivity.

          • Steve B

            Sorry, don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been following CM10.2 for d2vzw for a couple months now and I haven’t heard of any issue with tethering.

            Maybe you’re holding it wrong 😉

          • Mario Williams

            That really holds a lot of weight then since we have the same device. Do you know if CM removes TouchWiz which results in the performance improvement? Not that it really matters though. I’ll be all over CM once this comes to fruition. Thanks again!

          • Steve B

            When you install CM (or any other ROM) you’re replacing the current operating system. In your case, TW would be completely wiped and overwritten by Cyanogenmod. There would be zero features or any trace of TW left over.

  • Jeff Simpson

    I’m not sure how good an idea that is making it TOO easy to install. Even with a 1-click installer there are things that can go wrong, and not knowing how to get into recovery for a backup/restore, new rom flash, etc, is a mistake.

    • PhoenixPath

      totally agree unless they have some method of backing up and restoring your device to “factory settings” should something go amiss.

      • Jeff Simpson

        Indeed, even users that DO know what’s going on can run into problems. With the 10.0 to 10.1 upgrade, if you used the CM built-in upgrade, it broke everything, because it didn’t upgrade gapps. In addition, that was also the update that moved the contents of the SD card to the 0/ directory, so you couldn’t even restore to a backup.

        The “fix” was to go into recovery, connect from a computer with ADB and either flash a recovery new enough to look in the 0/ directory for backups or manually copy the backups back to the root directory so you could restore. Then you had to manually install CM and a new copy of gapps.

        Not a knock on CM at all – just an example of how automated installers are generally nice, but occasionally fail hard and you need to know how to do it manually or you’re screwed. Convincing people that it’s easy enough to just one-click install is just going to hurt the public perception.

        I use Gentoo. As nice as a one-click installer would be, it’s misleading to give one out, because it makes you think that updates and maintenance are also that easy, when they are far from it.

        • PhoenixPath

          I’m not knocking the idea of an installer, actually.

          I love the idea.

          …and if anyone can work the kinks out, it’s these guys…especially with backing and being able to devote “full time” to it.

          God…I cannot even begin to imagine what these guys will do now that they can call it their day job…

          Nah, don’t even want to start thinking along those lines…the possibilities are too much.

          They’ll figure it out. It may be a backup/restore thing…it may be a side-by-side thing…who knows? They’ll get it. Of that I have no doubt.

        • Droidzilla

          I have no doubt that, with this much money behind them, the CM team will be able to roll out OTA updates more smoothly than any of the OEMs.

    • Miguel Angel Portela

      lol at some chump using it with 14% battery on a phone that has no external sd.

      • Jason Downing

        they’ll probably build dependencies into it as well as disclaimers…

    • normmcgarry

      Meh, who cares about those people? As long as those people pay the $1.99 for the app and it leads to me getting a better ROM in the end. 😉

  • sean carey

    so will this work with my Droid Razr Maxx that has a locked bootloader?

    • Jeremy Martin

      Still will have the locked bootloader issue…However it will probably be some sort of safestrap/kexec type of installation where you need an Sd card.

      • Jdon285

        My understanding is this would only work with developer editions…

        • Jeremy Martin

          lol well when this conversation was going on CM did not release any info on how they would be doing this. Your reply comes after they already explained the “how”. Yes its going to be on devices that are unlockable without hacks. They also plan to work with OEM providers to get CM installed with their blessing.

          • Jdon285

            LOL….ya I’m a little behind, kinda catching up, but thanks 🙂

  • dragonthc

    awesome! I look forward to seeing carriers crush this like a bug. Then what happens?

  • Dan

    If they cannot continue to use Google apps on them they are DOA

    • Steve B

      This is no different than what Amazon, Samsung, HTC or any of the other manufacturers do. Cyanogenmod is just a skinned (forked) version of AOSP.

    • No Snoopn

      Think again, Danny boy.

  • Zach B.

    Dear sweet Jesus this will make my life so much easier.

  • Walter Partlo

    I wonder how gapps are going to be handled with this?

    • dragonthc

      same way they are handled for other carriers.

      • Walter Partlo

        So, google is going to treat them as a de facto OEM? I know that distributing gapps is something Google has dinged them for before, so I would assume that CM would have this worked out with Google ahead of time. It could be that the install retains the current Gapps. I don’t think it is as simple as you think, and will be interesting to see how it goes down.

        • coolsilver

          Why would they complain about distributing something that is so embedded into the core… just seems odd.

          • Walter Partlo

            Because the gapps are proprietary, and the leverage that Google uses to ensure that devices are suitable to be in the Google ecosystem.

    • No Snoopn

      Hopefully the replace all of the gapps.

      • NexusPhan69

        The problem is that gapps are proprietary to Google and not part of AOSP. Distributing them is generally not allowed outside of Google’s own control.

    • joejoe5709

      These days, most Google Apps are downloadable separate from the system anyway – a trend that is sure to expand. It seems CM has already gotten a replacement for the camera app. I don’t think we would miss out on much.

  • coolsilver

    Awesome. I was wondering when it was going to happen. This capability has been around for a while. Though AOKP had this idea some time ago never really panned out. I still like to see a unified rom center app. ROM Manager tried, most ROMs never make it in the list. Same with Goo Manager.

    • Justin W

      Agreed. If anyone can implement it and make sure it catches on, it’s Cyanogen with their large user base.

  • Milind Shah

    Woah! That’ll bring so many new users into the world of cusomt roms! 🙂

    • Rammstein

      Although technically it wouldn’t be a custom rom anymore.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I’m thinking it’d be more like Xposed. Just modifying the framework for the registered device.

    • PhoenixPath

      Which is both good…and very very bad.

  • Sankyou

    Great news. Looking forward to this!