Cyanogen OS is a smartphone operating system that’s based on open source Google Android software, but which includes extra features and services including options that let users customize the look and feel of their devices.
A handful of smartphones including the OnePlus One and handsets from Indian device maker Micromax currently ship with Cyanogen OS. But Cyanogen Inc has just announced a partnership with Qualcomm that could lead to more phone makers adopting the operating system.
Cyanogen OS will be pre-loaded on some Qualcomm Reference Device hardware that ships starting in April.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to walk into a store and buy a Qualcomm phone with Cyanogen software. But Qualcomm produces these reference designs which phone makers can use as a starting point for developing their own hardware. This lets them test hardware and software that’s optimized to work with the latest Snapdragon processors — and if a device maker wants to take the path of least resistance they can essentially build a device with the same parts found int the reference design and slap their own name on it.
Models with Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400, and 600 series processors will now ship with Cyanogen OS instead of Qualcomm’s own custom version of Android.
This will expose a larger number of phone makers to Cyanogen OS and it will also make it easier for device makers to adopt the operating system and ship it on their upcoming phones since it’s already optimized to run on devices with Qualcomm’s chips.
Cyanogen Inc was founded by a group of folks who used to work on the CyanogenMod custom version of Android in their free time. But over the past few years the company has been working to make it software something that comes pre-installed on phones rather than just a community-based project that users could use to replace the software that came with their phones.
The road has been a bit bumpy lately, but a partnership with Qualcomm is a pretty big deal for a startup like Cyanogen.
The company also launched a new logo and a redesigned website today, along with some branding-speak about how they go along with the Cyanogen’s vision of “a truly open Android platform.”