Will overtake Android, iOS in innovation by 2016- Cyanogen Inc

Popular open source Android-based operating system maker Cyanogen Inc officials said the mobile ecosystem has fallen into a slump as far as innovation was concerned, and promised to introduce a new paradigm in the market by 2016.

Howard Harte, director of engineering at the company, and chief technology officer Steve Kondik were speaking at the occasion of the unveiling of Micromax Yu – a new company backed by India-based Micromax group that will release multiple phones over coming months with Cyanogenmod preinstalled.

“There is a level of stagnation that has happened in mobile computing since Steve Jobs pulled a device from his pocket in 2007, the predominant mobile paradigm is swipe, tap and open and app and we think there is a lot more to it,” Harte told an audience in India via video conferencing.

Harte also said there was a battle among operating systems being fought in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, India. “We (Cyanogen and Micromax Yu) intend to win that battle in India,” he said.


A lot of the radical change planned by Cyanogen has to do with how services are integrated into mobile devices, he added with giving further details. The changes will not only be “Android first, but Mobile first as well,” he added.

“Over the course of 2015 and 2016 onwards, you’re going to see new levels of innovation that you just cannot see in the Google Android world or the Apple iOS world,” he added.

Cyanogenmod was created about five years ago when hacker Steve Kondik started tinkering with the newly launched open source Android operating system, trying to fit it to his requirements. Some of the pioneers of the movement created a new company, Cyanogen Inc, earlier this year.

“What I found is that this thing that I was building was things that other people wanted, and this whole community started forming around it,” Kondik said about the early days. Today, for example, the Cyanogenmod project has around 10,000 contributors and millions of phones run the operating system, according to the company.

Cyanogen Inc has come under intense criticism among fans in India after the company disclosed that it has given Micromax the exclusive rights to make phones with Cyanogenmod built-in. That arrangement put OnePlus’s One into legally fuzzy territory as the Chinese handset also came with Cyanogenmod and had created quite a fan following since its launch two weeks ago.

The creation of Cyanogen Inc itself had ruffled a lot of feathers, with some developers wondering whether it will lead to compromises on the project’s values and philosophy. CTO Kondik said Cyanogen Inc will always try to stay true to its core philosophy.

“We are trying to stay true to that philosophy of putting the user in control… That’s what we’re building with Yu today,” he said.

The first handset from the combination – Yu Yureka – seemed all set to make a big splash in India. At Rs 8,999, the phone is without doubt the most value-for-money mid-range handset in India.

It will start selling next week on Amazon.

In addition to Cyanogenmod, the Yu Yureka is the first every LTE-enabled handset from any Indian brand, and is powered by the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 Octa-core chipset. It eclipses the Xiaomi Note 4G, priced Rs 9,999, in specifications, but Xiaomi does still enjoy slightly more favorable brand perception compared to Micromax.

The Yu project is Micromax’s attempt to withstand intense competition from Chinese players like Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and Vivo. Before the launch of the Yu Yureka, the Chinese handset makers had more or less beaten the Indian brands as far as offering value-for-money handsets with high-end specifications was concerned. The Yu Yureka is also manufactured in China via contract manufacturers.

Though people have started comparing the Yureka with OnePlus One, the Chinese brand’s phone is actually a high-end phone and comes with a full HD display, unlike the 720p display on the Yureka.