Much of Android is open to tinkerers, but Google has gradually closed off more and more of the default functionality. The most awesome aspects of the KitKat dialer - its ability to search for businesses and contacts from within the app - were not included in the open source version. So what's a ROM developer to do? Why, create their own alternative. The OmniROM folks have previously shown off their work, and now the CyanogenMod team has packed similar functionality, albeit seemingly more powerful, into the latest nightlies.

For starters, we see the straightforward ability to search for businesses. This saves users the effort of having to dig around in Yelp or, for the old-fashioned, pulling out a phone book. Searching for people functions the same way, only for people. CyanogenMod's version of the dialer even lets you select which provider to pull the contacts from.



Reverse search kicks in when someone calls you and IDs who is on the line. The screenshot below shows a toll free call, but when the app can identify who is calling, it will show their name instead. And unlike Google's dialer, you again have the option of which sources to rely on.


Relevant code commits:





Update: This code comes from developer Xiao-Long Chen, who originally developed the app for SlimROM. He has since worked to implement the functionality into multiple ROMs, resulting in the CyanogenMod implementation you see above.

While it may be a while before this dialer finds its way to a stable version of the ROM, it's already available to the more adventurous CyanogenMod users among us.

Thanks, anon.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    "where to them contacts from." what?

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Sometimes I hit the keyboard and things like this happen. Then I hit it again and things start to make sense.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        I know that feeling =]

      • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

        Why did you people say CM invented it when it was Slimroms, seriously stop crediting CM for things they didn't even do.

        Bias reporting is bias.

      • Shawn Matthiessen

        Why hasn't this article been corrected yet? You corrected some barely noticeable grammar issues yet you leave the glaring factual inaccuracies? Even Steve aka cyanogen has spoken on this, please, read the comments!

        • Kit Tihonovich

          They have an issue with reporting anything from us @ slim for some reason. We've given them exclusive information before it was released to the public...tips...hints...etc. All ignored.

          • DJ Subterrain

            That's because they're "looking after all things android", all things presumably not including pertinent information?

        • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

          This was the last article I wrote yesterday, and Peterson's comment was the last I saw before signing off. Unlike Artem, I sleep at night, so I'm now waking up to these comments.

          The post now contains a note pointing out who this code came from, just for clarification. That said, we never claimed that that CyanogenMod "created" any of this functionality,and no such words are to be found anywhere in this post. Artem's summed this up in his comment above:

          "... it wasn't immediately apparent what Xiao-Long Chen did or which projects he contributed to, nor was it relevant. They're commits to CM and are therefore contributions to CM, which is accurately reported above. Nowhere does it state that CM invented contact search or reverse lookup - we've reported on a new feature now present in CM nightlies."

      • fuckyourniggermom

        You are a lying nigger.

        • Theratchetnclank

          Well that escalated quickly.

      • bhaismachine

        Interesting to see that you responded to someone about grammatical errors but didn't respond to the comments pointing out factual errors. Pretty disappointing.

  • Woodrowe Bones

    SlimKat had this feature for a while in their weekly builds until Google made them remove it. I'm guessing that the same will happen here :(

    • Guillaume ‘XpLoDWilD’

      Considering there's reverse engineered code from the Google dialer in there... (and OmniROM's bits :))

      • cyanogen

        Don't worry, we consider patches that come our way after being thru Omni's weird-ass licensing scheme as "tainted meat" and reject them wholesale.

        • Cyanofraud

          Yea, you only accept code you can repackage and sell to OEM markets for profit. We understand.

          • Anthony King

            I love how most people who post this sort of comment couldn't care less until CyanogenMod partnered with a few companies.
            Oh look, We (SlimRoms) also use apache. we must also be selling off ideas

        • Nabir


    • Lars Greiss

      Not completely true. Slimkat needed to remove a part of it which cm
      has removed as well. This was now weeks of fights with lawyers what is
      allowed and what not. The code and feature in its current state is now
      completely legal and proven.

      Whatever I know that
      slimroms is ignored here on android police for whatever reason although
      they develop a bunch of features including this one which is not from

      Other examples privacy guard manager is not from cm. It is from slim.

      Aosp recent replacement which made some rumor and you find in a lot ROMs is developed by slim

      Dark ui like navigation apps on the fly based on light conditions etc etc

      The list is very long. Just wish that news portals get the facts a bit more together when they report about new features

      • didibus

        Do you know what part it was?

      • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

        Its stupid that cm gets credit for someone else's work even though they did next to nothing.

      • cyanogen

        No reason for us to pretend otherwise.. The developer of the feature has contributed it to several ROMs, including ours, and the original work happened over at Slim. The code went thru 20+ iterations on our Gerrit instance, so it's fair to say that we helped. Hopefully the improvements went both ways, we like SlimRoms :)

        • Lars Greiss

          Ah steve lol this was nothing against you or CM. There are basically two problems.

          One team which spreads out that it is illegal although we spend weeks with lawyers on it to check it what is possible and what not and worked as well several weeks on it (btw the developer of this patch is team member from slim since a longer time ;) ). Whatever you did nothing wrong. You creditet him in your weekly report. Like you did with privacy guard manager as well. From my side all is well regarding CM.

          And second it is just sad to see that a news portal which is that big like android police ignors that permanently. That is sometimes even hard to communicate it to my team why it is like that. Honestly I do not know what we do wrong that it is permanently ignored.

          I personally would like to see that way more that Roms work in contribution together which partly works (and honestly although it is not that much the contribution between CM and Slim works quiet well) But with most roms not. Sad enough that a lot forget to credit the original source and more sad that this Roms even say that it was there idea....well but this problem you know way longer then me :D

          So to summarize it....it would be absolutely fine if this article says CM and SlimRoms worked together something out. Or whatever something like that. And as well it would be fine that some stop to talk about that it is illegal or reverse engineered and spread this around ;)

          Steve we both are definitely fine. Absolutely no offence :)

        • Lars Greiss

          ah lol and sorry forget to say it. Yeah of course the improvements we got back....and we are already working on improving it more and adding more providers etc etc. which we will contribute back for sure :) We like CM as well.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I've now left my response.

  • Scott

    How hard would it be to just add this to our existing ROM? Just drop in the apk and call it a day?

    • duck hairs

      Should be possible

  • Cj

    This feature isn't developed by CM...it's from SlimROMs

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    This was made by SlimROMs not CM, fix the article to credit the real source.

  • Adam Geerdes

    Where CMs version of the dialer? I don't see anything CM created anywhere on this page. . . ??

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Alright, since this SlimRoms issue is getting out of hand, I'm going to respond publicly.

    1. SlimRoms wasn't on our radar or even remotely known to the team (the name, if familiar, sounded just like a million of xda ROMs out there) until a barrage of emails about a recent release, the first one being seemingly a few thousand words - a wall of text that doesn't explain clearly why we should be paying attention to them as opposed to other ROMs most of us have never heard of.

    2. Unlike PA's, CM's, and even Omni's PR teams who put out clear messages and updates, their PR team instead decided to proceed with a barrage of angry, frustrated, and passive-aggressive messages. Yes, I blame the so-called PR team for essentially almost immediately alienating the whole AP team rather than getting on our radar and staying there.

    3. As an independent publication, it is entirely up to us to figure out how to spend our time and which topics to invest time in covering every day. We don't have any obligations to cover any ROMs, and we do cover some because they've proven to have loyal and sizable followings, innovative features, clear changelogs, level-headed members, etc. It's entirely possible that SlimRoms would have eventually ended up next to CM/PA/Omni in our coverage plans.

    4. At some point between the first contact and now, we received a tip about a new task switcher in Slims, which I and the majority of the team decided wasn't a useful enough or necessary change to deserve site coverage (given our first encounter and overall impressions).

    5. The more emails we've received and messages we've seen on the site from various SlimRoms members and "fans," the more angry and rude they became. It culminated today with someone involved with Slims going as far as using the N word and leaving comments that are so completely inappropriate and rude that I had no words when I saw them. This person thought he was anonymous, but I tracked him down and will be likely calling him out in public over this (I've also banned him from the site). At this point, regardless of Slim's contributions and features, I'm absolutely disgusted and don't have any desire to deal with anything remotely related with the ROM.

    6. Now that I've explained our brief and unpleasant history with Slims abrasive "PR team," I'll comment on the matter at hand - several vocal commenters getting upset at us crediting CM with this feature. The original tip came in from an anonymous source and linked to the changelogs quoted above.

    The commits were done by someone named Xiao-Long Chen who we haven't heard of before and don't mention anything about Slim. This person is not listed on the SlimRoms team page http://www.slimroms.net/index.php/team, so it wasn't immediately apparent what Xiao-Long Chen did or which projects he contributed to, nor was it relevant.

    They're commits to CM and are therefore contributions to CM, which is accurately reported above. Nowhere does it state that CM invented contact search or reverse lookup - we've reported on a new feature now present in CM nightlies.

    In conclusion, when dealing with Slim's public relations, I felt (and I wasn't alone) like I was dealing with a childish, rude, unorganized group of typical xda developers (as opposed to the rare kind that is more of an exception to the rule) who need to look up the definition of "professional," especially if they want someone they're pitching to to take interest in them.

    • Kit Tihonovich

      I'll respond to you publicly rather than privately to add MY concerns on this topic since you've chosen to do so as well, it seems.

      I'll number via correlation to your numbers.

      1) Here's the wall of text.


      And here's the preface I put on the email I sent.


      First off...

      I'm a SlimRom Team Member. But I can safely say...we kick ass.

      Our features are CONSTANTLY featured in Omni,Carbon,Liquid,AOKP,etc. We're not some small-town ROM...despite the relatively low popularity (ever-increasing at a tremendous rate, however). I have my personal suspicions that it's simply due to our name....Slim. People automatically link that to bland. When we're actually the authors of some of the biggest features out there...especially thus far in KitKat. I've included our general "media contact" info...

      But sincerely...I just think we have a good thing going and wanted to say that personally. The other rom teams would vouch for this I'm sure. We're better than is known, unfortunately. PLEASE. Give us a shout-out? Or at the least...give the ROM a try. We think you'll be impressed...

      Ok. On to the generic info:

      [insert wall of text]

      2) Only argument I know of is your response to us when we accidentally sent two of the already mentioned "wall of text" emails. We never finalized who would be contacting AP, so I went ahead and did so.

      I later responded (on being ignored, and searching the site for any reference to Slim...
      Thanks so much guys. You're awesome.

      AOKP has someone make a bootanimation for them and it's worthy of an article...but one of the 4 (Slim, AOKP, CM, PA) Roms actually doing original work reaches a huge milestone and it's fucking ignored.


      Which was childish, and I apologized. But that's as far as the contact goes, as far as I know...aside from your condesending response that I'll leave out out of respect for your team.

      Are you sure you know who is on Slim?

      Maybe you're getting hundreds of tips...because we do good work. But the grudge makes it annoying...and then assumptions that these tips are coming from us are made.

      3) We do have clear change-logs, original features, etc...

      Once again outlined on our site and our google+ page.

      This Dialer, TRDS (you know...that dark AOKP, dark Carbon, dark Liquid, etc switch), our own take on hardware and software key customization that is vastly beyond that of other roms, SlimPie, which was originally a PA feature...on to a CM feature...on to a Slim feature with a lot of extra lovin', Notification Reminders, Music timer linked to our original media tile...our original Notification Toggles (originally based on CM's version...but since then a lot of added/removed/changed code), Custom toggles...that literally allow you to toggle anything...a tasker task...or any setting in the ROM...and the toggle will listen for the setting to update and change it's appearance accordingly...the Chamber of Secrets for advanced users, lockscreen colors, lock-before-unlock...on...and...on...and...on.

      But, you're right. You do have that right.

      4) Fair...but we think you'd like it.

      5) You explicitly mention "fans" here. Can we control that? And secondly...again...are you sure ANY team members are contacting you? I'm fairly certain we haven't. And...no, assuming your email sent to us is referring to this person...he is not on the team. Nor has he contributed to Slim from what I'm seeing? So...yeah, totally not us. We wouldn't stoop that low.

      6) Xiao-Long Chen is indeed on our team. Just saw that he is listed on our roster...but the "article" (pic/info) isn't set to "published". We need to change that. Thanks for the heads up, I'll contact our site admin.

      Your negative interactions...it seems to me...are all from elements beyond our control aside from my ONE response. Which I apologized for, and you were condescending to me about as well. The public saying "Hey this is awesome" isn't us trying to annoy you. Sorry, we'll try to put out less awesome things from now on.

      • DJ Subterrain

        Outstanding response and just shows how influentual SlimRoms are to the scene at large, sadly AP can't be bothered to perform their journalistic duties properly.

    • really?

      You just demonsyrated how tainted a journalist you are.

    • cyanogen

      CM long ago implemented a policy where we do not actively cherry pick code from other projects based on CM. Its up to the author to submit the code upstream to us if they desire. We implemented this policy not because we think we are better then anyone, but simply to put an end to these kinds of fights that have become so common among these teams that all claim to be working towards the same goal.

      You're about to see us make a few *major* contributions to the community over the next couple of months and we expect that everyone is going to pick them up. Open source means that you have to be OK with this, and you have to understand why we are all doing it. Otherwise you are in the wrong business.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Not sure if you meant to reply to me or @kittihonovich:disqus, but I'll assume the latter.

        • Kit Tihonovich

          Why in the world would that have been directed at me?

  • DJ Subterrain

    So, in other words this was bad journalism, not checking your sources properly.

    As for saying that Slim Recents "wasn't a useful enough or necessary change to deserve site coverage", there are many users who would disagree with you.

    Users from other roms are asking for it to be added and a few other roms are adding it anyway as it's a graphically attractive and useful addition.

    As for getting abuse from people, I'm assuming you didn't even check either to see if they were official reps from SlimRoms before damning the whole development team? From what I can see of SlimRoms Lars Greiss is one of the main devs and he seems more than helpful and communicative, on Google+, on XDA and even in your own comments section.

    It's interesting to note that even though you've now been informed that SlimRoms were integral to this development, you've still not decided to add that information to the article, more bad journalism?

    Maybe it's not the SlimRom team at fault?

    (In before ban)