Part of me can't help but wonder whether Cyanogen Inc. still lives under the shadow of its forefather, CyanogenMod, especially when announcements like these are made and the company introduces an eerily named "Cyanogen MOD" platform that has nothing to do with the custom ROM every enterprising Android user has known for years.

Instead, MOD is the incarnation of what we've been hearing from Cyanogen for a while now: a platform that opens up Cyanogen OS' Android framework further than any other, allowing deeper integration of apps and services into areas of the software that have otherwise been off-bounds for a long time. Cyanogen will provide APIs to help developers create these native experiences. For now, those APIs don't seem available to everyone, just a few select partners, but the goal is to open them up later on.

Microsoft got the bigger share of the pie in the announced MODs, but TrueCaller is also on board. Here is a list of the MODs that will be available on launch and what you should expect them to do:

  • Skype: integrates in the native dialer for VOIP calling, call history, and easy switching from voice to video calls.
  • Cortana: "hands-free multitasking" including voice-activated selfies.
  • Hyperlapse: integrates as a mode in the native camera, allows you to shoot Hyperlapses.
  • OneNote: has many entry points in the OS (dialer, browser, email, calendar) to quickly jot down notes, as well as a Quick Settings tile.
  • TrueCaller: identifies spam calls and texts right away and lets you block them.
  • Social lockscreen: shows relevant posts right on your lockscreen. The promo photo only demonstrates Instagram with the full photo taking up your lockscreen and the caption in the lower part.

You should expect the MOD platform to roll out to users with the Cyanogen OS 13 update (based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow) next month. Another interesting blurb found in the press release mentioned that "the system will even nudge users to install the perfect mod to help you complete the task at hand." Whether this will be a helpful smart feature or an annoying spammy one remains to be seen.

The second aspect of the MOD platform is MOD Ready, a hardware partner scaling program to accelerate development of new mod-enabled devices. Cyanogen will provide its partner OEMs and MNOs (none named, but it seems that anyone can at least apply on the site) with a Platform Development Kit including the crucial components to create a new MOD device, and it will work to make sure MOD is compatible with the latest chipsets.

You can read more about MOD in the following press release and check the official site at the source link below.

Press Release

Cyanogen Introduces MOD to Usher in the Post-App Era

MOD Evolves the Android Framework by Democratizing Surface Areas Previously Only Available to OS Creators, Driving New Opportunities for 3rd Party Services and OEMs

BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwired - Feb 22, 2016) - Cyanogen Inc., a global leader in mobile computing, today announced at Mobile World Congress the launch of MOD™, an integrated mobile platform that is going to change the way users, developers, OEMs, and MNOs build and interact with their mobile devices. The new platform will introduce mods -- intelligent, contextually aware, and lightweight experiences built natively into the mobile operating system.

As mods, 3rd party applications that were previously isolated can now take advantage of platform APIs to implement unique experiences directly within Cyanogen OS™. Users can install a variety of mods to extend the functionality of their devices. For example, through Cyanogen's partnership with Microsoft, a user can install the Skype® mod directly into their dialer to add VoIP calling functionality or they can install the Cortana™ personal assistant mod to power features like voice-activated selfies.

In addition, to expand the availability of the MOD platform, Cyanogen is announcing a new partner program called MOD Ready to accelerate development time of new devices and services.

The Start of the Post-App Era
Under the current regime of mobile operating systems, only a select group of apps are allowed to natively integrate into the OS. With mods, barriers to deeper integration are removed and developers can now unleash the full potential of their applications across the OS. With mods, users can conveniently access their workout playlist with voice-activation, schedule a ride-sharing service from within their calendar, and make a video conference call from their contacts list. The system will even nudge users to install the perfect mod to help you complete the task at hand. These are just a few examples of how MOD provides an engaging and simplified experience with a phone that learns and reacts to your behavior.

"Thinner bezel, better biometrics, faster processors... changes never cease, yet many people are still bored with their devices. Why is this? We think people are intuitively looking for a more natural way to interact with them. MOD enables this by effectively creating a new runtime, a new way to build services for the Android super platform," said Kirt McMaster, CEO & Co-Founder of Cyanogen. "According to some estimates, by 2020 Android's scale will be greater than Facebook and iOS combined. A single platform that touches over 4 billion people around the world, enabling them to do practically everything. But apps, as they exist today, can be boring and single-minded. Mods are something entirely different. We are excited to be working with many partners around the world who understand the new vision of computing that MOD enables for Android and we look forward to seeing the innovations that arise from it."

"Our partnership with Cyanogen is part of our ambition to provide great digital experiences to customers across all of their devices, in all aspects of their lives," said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Microsoft. "MOD reinvents productivity for Android users by giving them access to the power of Microsoft's services in an engaging and modern way."

MOD Ready Brings Speed and Scale to OEMs and MNOs
To accelerate time-to-market for devices running MOD, Cyanogen has created MOD Ready, a scaling program that enables OEMs and MNOs to rapidly launch phones across a broad range of chipset platforms. MOD Ready will help both partners and in-house engineering teams preserve existing investments in hardware, Board Support Package (BSP), component drivers/tuning, and supply chain.

As part of the MOD Ready program, Cyanogen will provide a Platform Development Kit (PDK) consisting of all the major components needed to launch a MOD enabled device. In addition, Cyanogen will work closely with major chipset providers to update the PDK roadmap with new chipsets on a quarterly basis. Since Cyanogen OS is CTS-compliant, MOD Ready devices will allow partners to take advantage of the existing Android ecosystem.

"MOD is a giant leap forward in innovative and outside-the-box thinking," said John Sculley, Co-Founder of Obi. "We are excited to work with Cyanogen to bring MOD Ready devices to our global customers, who crave a premium user experience and an ability to customize over all else."

"As an early supporter of Cyanogen and having launched our first device, BQ X5, in Spain and Germany, and soon to come in the United Kingdom, we love the fact that Cyanogen OS puts control over the experience and particularly, privacy and security in the hands of the customer. The evolution to MOD is the next chapter in this journey, enabling our customers to choose the services they love and have them natively integrated on the device. We truly believe that MOD brings the best possible Android experience to our customers and promotes an open, innovative, and level playing field," said Francisco Montalvo, Director of Group Devices Unit, at Telefonica.

Life After Apps Starts Now
In addition to the Cortana and Skype mods, first-generation mods will also include a Microsoft Hyperlapse mod for smooth and stabilized first-person videos, a OneNote® mod for seamless dialer, browser, email, and calendar note taking, a Truecaller mod for spam messaging, and social lockscreen mods.

The MOD Ready Program is available now for OEM and MNO partners. The MOD platform will begin rolling out next month on devices with Cyanogen OS 13.0 or greater.

About Cyanogen Inc.
Cyanogen is reimagining mobile computing, giving power to the people to customize their mobile device and content experiences. The MOD platform is evolved from the market leading Android-based Cyanogen OS, which is known for its revolutionary personalization features, intuitive interface, speed, improved battery life, and enhanced security. With a rapidly growing global user base and a vibrant community of developers, we're intelligently connecting smartphone and tablet consumers to people, apps, and things they love. For more information, visitCyanogen's website, MOD website, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

MOD and Cyanogen are trademarks of Cyanogen Inc., registered in certain countries; MOD Ready and Cyanogen OS are trademarks of Cyanogen Inc.; All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners, and they may be registered in certain countries.