Kirt McMaster, the controversial CEO of Cyanogen Inc., will be stepping down from his role, we've learned. An announcement could come as soon as tomorrow as part of a larger news release regarding the company's new structure and direction. McMaster changed his title on LinkedIn recently to reflect the change. It is unclear what role this would actually give McMaster at the company, or who would replace him as CEO. Cyanogen Inc.'s website still lists McMaster in his former position.
There aren't a ton of devices running the commercial Cyanogen OS ROM these days, but the Wileyfox Spark and Spark+ are two of the most prominent (which really tells you something). These UK phones launched with Cyanogen OS 12 (Lollipop) earlier this year, but now Cyanogen OS 13 is finally rolling out.
The lads and lasses on the open source CyanogenMod Team continue to bring their Android nightly ROMs to phones and tablets that have long been abandoned by uncaring manufacturers. This week a handful of new devices get builds for CM13, based on code from Android 6.0. All of them are nightlies (so possibly not ready for primetime), but I'll bet their respective users are happy to get the attention anyway. Here they are:
If a comment on a CyanogenMod commit thread by founder Steve Kondik is any indicator, rumors that Cyanogen Inc. is basically getting out of the OS development business seem to be coming to fruition. While the context of the comment is a rather specific commit thread, Kondik's frustration seems to have led to him to say a bit more about Cyanogen Inc.'s future plans than the company may have liked:
There isn't really going to be much if any involvement from the Inc this time around and I'm taking on a lot of stuff on my own to try and keep us moving forward.
Cyanogen, Inc has been partnered with Microsoft for a while now, bringing various mods to devices running Cyanogen OS. The company is launching the Cortana mod in India today, starting out with the OnePlus One. Cortana first came to the Cyanogen operating system in January this year, followed by the 13.1 update, which enabled more widespread mod support.
To get this update, your OnePlus One must be running the latest version of the operating system - the aforementioned 13.1. This enables the voice-activated assistant feature which behaves much like Google Now; Cyanogen says Cortana is deeply integrated into the OS, with a 'Hey Cortana' command waking her up.
CyanogenMod 13 is the latest version of the popular open source custom ROM. It delivers Android Marshmallow to hundreds of devices, many with no hope of ever receiving an official update. On other hardware, CyanogenMod offers a chance to remove heavy skins and enjoy a mostly stock Android experience. The latest wave of devices receiving version 13 represents both types.
Microsoft's home-built (or home-bought) smartphone lineup may not be long for this world, but it looks like the development community isn't giving up on it. The Nokia Lumia 520 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8 device, announced back in 2013, and later succeeded by the Lumia 525 and 530.
A few days ago, XDA developer banmeifyouwant posted a video of his in-progress CyanogenMod 13 port to the Lumia 525. The video shows CM13, based on Android 6.0, booting on the device as well as opening and closing apps.
The developer only demonstrated the 525 booting, but he is currently working on kernel tweaks to allow the 520 to boot as well.
Cyanogen Inc. recently experienced a round of layoffs as the company struggled to make its customized build of Android into a viable business. Through all the turmoil, Cyanogen Inc. CEO Kirt McMaster has contended that CyanogenMod (the non-commercial side) has tens of millions of users. Now, some are expressing doubt as to the accuracy of such figures. For a company fueled by venture money, that could be a problem.
The Android ROM community isn't quite as active as it was a few years ago with Android itself becoming more feature-rich. Still, CyanogenMod is chugging along with support for a ton of devices and a reasonably fast update cycle. A new snapshot build of the Marshmallow-based CyanogenMod 13 is now official (ZNH5Y), and it will be available on the first wave of devices today.
The corporate half of the Cyanogen world might have seen better days, but the community-developer ROM is still going strong. They've recently released the CyanogenMod ROM to two new devices. The Huawei Honor 5X and ASUS ZenPad 8.0 have all been given initial nightly builds of CM 13 (based on Android 6.0 code), available to download and flash now.