Yesterday was kind of a big day for Android. The long-running and extremely popular custom ROM family CyanogenMod has been incorporated into a company which plans to further the software into a bona fide platform. CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik and extremely vocal CM team member Koushik Dutta (CTO and VP of Engineering for the new Cyanogen Inc, respectively) did what you're supposed to do whenever cool stuff happens: head to Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" session.
As part of today's announcement of CyanogenMod as a company, CTO and founder Steve Kondik said one of the first goals the team had was to make the process of installing CyanogenMod easier. Kondik called the current process "hideous" and too difficult for "mere mortals." He also announced that the Android installer companion app will be released to Google Play in the coming weeks.
The Android app is only half of the equation, though – a Windows application will also be released.
We've known that something's up at CyanogenMod for a while, and now the cat is formally out of the bag. Today Steve Kondik and other prominent contributors to the CyanogenMod family of ROMs, along with investors and new hires, announced the formation of Cyanogen Inc. The new company first aims to make the CyanogenMod ROM more stable, more widely available, and easier to install on more devices. Investor Mitch Lasky is reporting that the company has secured $7 million in startup capital, and has at least one hardware partnership in the works.
The developers at CyanogenMod never seem to sleep these days. After publishing the first Android 4.3 nightlies a few weeks ago, the long-promised CyanogenMod Accounts feature is being enabled on new builds starting tonight. This adds an option for an official CyanogenMod account in the Accounts section of the Settings page (right next to Google, Facebook, Dropbox, et cetera). Users can create a new CyanogenMod account right from their phones or tablets and access it from the official Account page on the CyangenMod website.
So you're a fan of custom ROMs, but you're not quite ready to live on the bleeding edge (or alternately, your device doesn't have a reliable Android 4.3 build yet). Fear not, cautious Android power user: the CyanogenMod team has a build for you! CyanogenMod 10.1.3 will be the last version of CM based on Android 4.2, and release candidates are now being posted for supported phones and tablets.
10.1.3 is more precisely based on Android 4.2.2, with all the bells and whistles that Google and CyanogenMod could shove into last year's release.
In a post to Google+, CyanogenMod has announced "the death of Power Widgets," offering up an explanation of CM's new solution: a Quick Access Ribbon.
Power Widgets, as the post explains, have been a hit since their birth in CyanogenMod 7, but have languished both in terms of maintenance and usefulness ever since. Their redundancy took another hike with the introduction of Google's Quick Settings shade in stock Android.
"Soon," the post goes on "we will say goodbye to the notification power widgets, discarding their 3000+ lines of code for a sleeker (only 370 new lines), newer, and more efficient method of toggling your settings."
The new implementation will offer a sleek, slim ribbon of quick settings tiles determined by the configuration of the actual Quick Settings shade, and will allow the CM team to offer functionality similar to the old power widgets without maintaining a separate stream of code.
CyanogenMod is already one of the most polished Android ROMs out there, but as the dev team says in the most recent blog post, running a custom OS shouldn't mean you're lacking first-class features. To that end, CyanogenMod ROMs will soon include CyanogenMod Account for encrypted device management. The account provider is already in CM's Github, but don't get too ahead of yourself – the CyanogenMod Account isn't rolling out right away.
The folks at CyanogenMod never seem to sleep. After adding no less than thirteen devices this month, they threw two more official builds into the nightly updates this weekend, both for Samsung hardware. The international LTE version of the Galaxy S4 Mini and Verizon's localized version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 both have shiny new pages on Get.CM.
The Galaxy S4 Mini is on CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2), with two nightly builds available at the time of writing.
The HTC One X+ is the last phone of an era. It was a simpler time, back when new devices got more letters and an extra helping of punctuation rather than a simpler title that makes them harder to Google. Those of you who have a One X+ now have an official CyanogenMod ROM build to call your own, at least if you're using the international version. The first nightly has been posted to Get.CM.
Our readers already know about CyanogenMod, as it's only the most popular Android ROM out there, so I won't waste time with an introduction. Many also already use CyanogenROM Downloader to get their hands on the latest versions, even though it's not an official updater. The app's already awesome, but its author sent out a tease a few days ago implying that it could be even better - that it could automatically update your ROM to the latest version overnight, do a backup beforehand, and install your preferred custom kernel without a single touch.