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Who is Cyanogen Inc.'s mystery hardware partner?

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Christopher Coleman #1

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Posted Sep 19 '13 @ 10:16 AM

Yesterday, Steve Kondik announced via the official CyanogenMod blog some big changes for the CM team and the future of CyanogenMod as a whole.  The team has acquired $7 million via two investors and has formed a corporation, running under the name Cyanogen Incorporated.  The newly formed company's goals are simple: to create software that users want and need to stay productive, and to have that software accessible to as many people as possible.  Two major shifts in the way CM operates will help the team continue to realize these goals: an installer application that aids in the process of loading CM onto your device, and a partnership with a hardware manufacturer.
 
Right now, let's focus on the hardware side of things.  In true tech news fashion, we don't have all of the details right away, so that means it's time to hammer away at our keyboards speculating as to who the team's mystery hardware partner will be.  I'd like to take you through two of the most plausible possibilities: Sony and Oppo.
 
Even all the way back to 2011, Sony Ericsson had committed to providing support to third-party developers.  This began with an announcement via Sony's Developer World website, detailing Sony's realization that custom ROMs are a large part of the Android community, and although not "all" efforts will be supported, the company would be providing assistance to the FreeXperia team to bring CyanogenMod to a number of devices.  The company made it possible for users to unlock the bootloader on 2011 Xperia phones and provided devices, code and software binaries for the team to use.  So, official CyanogenMod support for these devices reigned a supreme choice for those looking for aftermarket firmware for their Xperia phones, and Sony continues their commitment to Android's open source roots today through Sony's continued contribution to the Android Open Source Project.
 
Sony is clearly no stranger to the world of Android development.  The company openly recognizes the innovation that custom software can bring, and is in full support of the open-source roots of Android, which is what CyanogenMod is born and raised on.  We can look at the size of Sony, and the size that Cyanogen Inc wants to grow to.  The company has big plans, including enterprise-level solutions for Android devices, a commitment to security, and short as well as long term hardware plans.  A company as large as Sony behind their efforts to release a Cyanogen phone, or whatever else the company has planned exactly, seems like a great way to get CM into the hands of more consumers.  This, coupled with Sony's recent interest in gaining more popularity in the U.S. makes them a strong contender.
 
However, in our eyes, they are not as strong or as sensible of a choice in the long run as Oppo.  You have probably never held or seen an Oppo device in person, but the company's Find 5 caused quite a scene when the device was unveiled.  The China-based company introduced the world's first 1080p smartphone.  The device was (and can still be considered) quite the beast, rocking a sleek, practically bezel free design, a 13MP shooter, 1.5ghz quad core processor with an Adreno 320, and touting "twice a month" updates to Oppo's own "Color ROM" software.  
 
When heading to Oppo's official site for the Find 5, scrolling down a bit brings you to the most interesting thing I think I've ever seen on an OEM's website.  A list of officially supported custom ROMs.  Mind blown.  The company touts official CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, and PAC Rom support.  The company announces official CM releases via official channels, and even attended XDA's DevCon 2013 to showcase the process of porting CyanogenMod to their device.
 

Maybe you haven't noticed, but I have yet to mention another Oppo smartphone.  The reason for that is simple: there really aren't any, save for the mid-range dual SIM R819.  This is why, in my opinion, it makes much more sense that Cyanogen would choose Oppo to partner with.  The company clearly makes fantastic looking hardware, but is lacking any sort of presence in the general consumer market.  They remain committed to making devices that "they would want to use," but at the end of the day, they need to sell the damn things.  So, a partnership with CyanogenMod -- a phone with user-developed software based on a commitment to productivity and security sure sounds like something that a lot of people would buy right now, not even taking into consideration the leagues of nerds that would be salivating over an officially branded CyanogenMod device.
 
Even though Sony's commitment could be much larger behind the scenes, if we have learned anything in all this time it's that OEMs rarely ever break the mold, and we are already lucky to have what Sony has given to the hackers, developers, and hardcore Android enthusiasts.  Oppo sure seems like the perfect partner for Cyanogen's mission, and I'd bet that we will be hearing an official announcement sooner rather than later.
 
So, with all that being said, we want to hear from you. Vote on your choice for who you think will (or should) be Cyanogen's hardware partner!


Sources: 1 2 3 4
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dmmarck #2

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Posted Sep 19 '13 @ 10:30 AM

Oppo.


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creccaj #3

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 7:43 AM

Oppo would seem like a logical choice.


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Cory Streater #4

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 1:15 PM

You've made a really strong case for Oppo.

 

Sony: I think they would introduce too many layers of bureaucracy.

I know you just listed them for the sake of putting them on the list, but HTC would strongly benefit from doing something like this. Unfortunately, they are in bed with the carriers.

 

Then there's this :)

 



C Sab #5

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 2:20 PM

We have a winner! I've actually been kind of interested in the Oppo 5.
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dmmarck #6

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 5:31 PM

Should have put money on it :(

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C Sab #7

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 5:43 PM

Well since alot of people said the same company, the shares wouldn't be that big. haha



dmmarck #8

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 5:44 PM

Money's money!

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C Sab #9

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Posted Sep 20 '13 @ 6:15 PM

Fair enough.



jenny015 #10

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