Tuesday, 24 September 2013

CyanogenMod and Android fragmentation

Android's OS fragmentation is an ongoing issue the Google mobile ecosystem faces. Whilst iOS7 adoption hit 35% within a day (that's including my 3-year-old iPhone 4), Android Jelly Bean stands at 45% more than one year after the release of 4.1. Some companies, like Amazon with its Kindle Fire and forked Android OS, are obviously working against Google's best interests. But what about the recently incorporated CyanogenMod? Before the incorporation I agreed that Cyanogen was helping to unify Android. But this changed last week. Sooner or later they have to make money. Some options the same article cites:

  • "Licensing software/services to OEMs" OEMs make big money from their short device life-cycle. Cyanogen works against that. Also good luck to do all the certification (second part of the article) work that holds back the software upgrades, especially for low-budget, low-profit devices.
  • "Building hardware" In some way Cyanogen's sole purpose is to make all Android devices equivalent. It will be really hard to give a reason a customer should buy their devices.
  • "Creating secure enterprise solutions" This one sounds interesting. I am not sure if they can do it without forking Android.

All in all, it is possible that Cyanogen keeps helping with the unification, but it's way more likely that in the long term in one way or another they become another "Amazon" in the Android universe.