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Jul 30, 2011

What is CyanogenMod and why should you care?

Android Cyanogen

Most of my "Anroidians" friends are using CyanogenMod these days and since a few colleagues of mine asked me about what it is, I figured it's time for me to write about it. After all, this site is about mobility for the common people, and Cyanogen seems like one of those things only technical people use…

So what is exactly CyanogenMod?

Well, as weird as it may sound, it's another version of Android, existing in almost a parallel universe, where Android OS is being developed and improved by people, who are not Google developers, but smart enough to take the open source code and improve it.

Here's what they had to say about themselves:

"Intended as a replacement for the software (also known as the "firmware" or "ROM") that comes factory installed on your smartphone, CyanogenMod is based on the Android Open Source Project – the same base software used in all Android devices. However, CyanogenMod offers several benefits over the pre-installed firmware, including vastly flexible interface and customization, a wider set of new features, and sometimes significant improvements in performance.

CyanogenMod's features may allow you to bypass software limitations imposed by carriers, which may prevent you from using the handset in a manner that they do not support. Such features include, but not limited to, the ability to overclock the device's CPU, tether the device to your computer, or fully back up the device to your SD Card."

So CyanogenMod is basically an aftermarket firmware distribution or a custom firmware for Android, which can be downloaded and installed for free on a variety of Android handsets for free. It includes some features that does not exist in the official Android, as well as tons of customization options and some performance optimization.

cyanogenmod Android

Why should you consider switching to the parallel world of Android?

There could be a few reasons for that: first of all, it may happen that your carrier does not push the latest OS update and you are stuck with an older version running on a device that does support newer versions of Android – if you are pissed off about that – you can simply switch and get the latest version plus some improvements. Another reason might be known bugs or issues in the official Android OS which are fixed (or improved) in Cyanogen. For example, if you are using right to left text – you will notice that whenever numbers are added to the text – the entire message is corrupted. Well – that happens only in the official Android version – in Cyanogen, one of the developers who is Israeli happen to fix it, which means – Cyanogen's parallel Android doesn't suffer from this annoying bug.

Get the picture? You take Android's open source plus a large number of semi-genius developers and you end up having an improved Android. For free.

Of course, not everything is perfect. There are issues with those builds, but you can check them out as well as downloading a daily build and get a notification whenever a stable build is released. Nope, it's not going to be as stable as iOS, but if you really want to have the latest version of Android plus some improvements – that's the fastest way to get there.

According to the downloads statistics – over 500,000 Android users have already switched from the "official" Android version to Cyanogen. Not an awful lot considering the fact that over 500,000 Android devices are activated daily. Still, when you look at the website, number of people in the forums and other stats it's hard not to get impressed with the Cyanogen phenomenon.

To learn more about CyanogenMod, supported features and certified devices – click here.

Here are some statistics about the devices who installed CyanogenMod (although may no be reliable as Nexus One appears with a total number of 1 which doesn't make any sense…

Device

Total

bravo

77,438

supersonic

40,836

umts_jordan

32,066

passion

27,842

sholes

22,563

morrison

20,475

ace

19,331

blade

18,209

inc

17,837

vision

15,980

leo

15,351

galaxysmtd

14,986

buzz

14,892

encore

14,451

hero

12,852

heroc

11,137

crespo

10,029

glacier

9,525

ascend

8,402

legend

8,169

zeppelin

8,148

p990

7,713

motus

7,342

click

7,282

thunderg

7,250

captivatemtd

5,923

vibrantmtd

5,472

mecha

5,296

cdma_shadow

4,997

z71

4,855

desirec

4,719

espresso

4,619

p999

4,577

galaxys

4,189

liberty

3,852

x8

3,724

xMini Pro

3,045

x10

2,759

galaxy5

2,457

x10mini

2,435

galaxys2

2,253

harmony

2,163

eve

2,099

racer

1,640

captivate

1,624

fascinatemtd

1,611

speedy

1,588

bravoc

1,505

swift

1,484

GT-I5700

1,456

dream_sapphire

1,338

cdma_droid2

1,292

Xperia_X8

1,179

thunderc

1,153

crespo4g

1,133

vivo

1,119

v9

1,076

i8320

1,054

(all the other models are below 1000 downloads)

To learn more about CyanogenMod, supported features and certified devices – click here.

Topics you may have looked for:

What is CyanogenMod? Cyanogen, unlock Android phone, Android Smartphones, Android hack, Flash Android ROM, Flashed Android, Custom Android ROM, more Android settings


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