Cyanogen is going to war with Google, and it plans on winning Android from the original maker of the mobile platform. The company had just received a massive round of funding, totaling $80 million from big names like Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, and even Rupert Murdoch. That $80 million is being spent to, “hire talent and accelerate the development of its open OS platform.”
The company is ultimately trying to take Android from Google. Now though, Cyanogen has even more backing, and this time it’s from a hardware-based company Blu, who is working on the first Google-less Android device. That device, which is expected to be released with Cyanogen OS later this year, will feature Amazon’s Appstore, Opera for web browsing, Dropbox and OneDrive for storage options that aren’t device-based, Nokia Here maps, and Spotify.
Blu’s CEO Samuel Ohev-Zion pointed out that, “When these other apps are deeply integrated into the phone, most of the time they perform better than the Google apps.” Other companies have tried to launch devices that put Google on the backburner when it comes to Android. In recent memory, Acer’s CloudMobile A800, which was running Aliyun OS – another Android-based operating system – was actually forced to be shut down before the launch because the company was afraid of what launching a device that takes Google out of the equation might do to their partnership.
This really speaks to how bad things have gotten for Google-based apps within the Android platform. Many feel as though the massive push to force Android users actually to use Google apps, instead of competing apps that are oftentimes better – goes against the open-source nature of the Android platform to begin with. In many cases, they have ended up feeling as restrictive or even more confining than Apple has been with their iOS.
Either way, this stirs up a really interesting debate. Questions around whether users would prefer a Google-free version of Android, against a Google-integrated version of Android – is completely unclear. In some ways, Google integration into Android is what has made it what it is today. On the other hand though, there are serious integration issues with Google products. Users already frequently use the alternatives like Opera regularly, and if they are well-integrated into a device produced by Blu, then it would bode very well for Cyanogen.