Koushik Dutta, better known as "Koush" to the Android power user community, was one of the original Cyanogen, Inc. employees when the company incorporated last year. But he's been giving Android users some great stuff for much longer than that: most people's first exposure to his work comes from ClockworkMod, still one of the most widely-used custom recoveries available, not to mention various tools like ROM Manager, ClockworkMod Tether, and DeskSMS.
The folks at CyanogenMod take a long, long time to develop a custom ROM before they'll slap a "stable" label on it. They don't make any apologies for this, but if you're particularly impatient for a more reliable version of CM 11 (Android 4.4), you can check out the latest snapshot builds. The "M5" builds are rolling out for some of the better-supported devices at the moment, and more should be available throughout the day.
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.
Sony's new new smaller-than-average smartphone is getting a bit more appealing for the DIY crowd with official support for CynaogenMod, courtesy of the FXP dev group. Nightly builds for this device are now listed in the CM download portal.
The marketing campaign for OnePlus's CyanogenMod-powered One phone has been maddeningly piecemeal, so we've been hesitant to post their tiny updates. But the latest one is notable: according to this forum post, the OnePlus One will feature always-on voice commands, in the same manner as the Moto X and 2013 Motorola DROIDs. The administrator says that it's enabled by a combination of Qualcomm technology and custom software from the CyanogenMod team.
Fans of Motorola and ROM flashing will be excited to learn CyanogenMod is giving them what they want. NewCM11 nightly builds of the popular ROM now support a ton of Motorola devices with unified builds. You just have to figure out which phones are which – it's a little tricky.
There is a single ROM for the Falcon, which would be a cool name for a phone. It's actually the Moto G, and it looks like this ROM should work for all variants.
If your phone was already one of the very first devices to get the latest version of Android, do you really need a custom ROM like CyanogenMod? If you're shouting "YES" at the screen right now, you'll want to know about the first nightly builds available for the Moto X. The CM team has published CM11 nightlies for the Moto X on T-Mobile (XT1053, which is also the standard unlocked GSM edition) and for Verizon (XT1060), though the later needs to be a Developer Edition.
There are so many regional and carrier variants of Samsung's Galaxy S4 flagship that even we can hardly keep them straight, but apparently CyanogenMod hasn't released an official ROM for the white bread, vanilla, Exynos-powered original GS4 before now. But lo and behold, a new build for the GT-I9500 GSM model has appeared on the CM download page. It's a test version of CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) if you're interested.