Cyanogen, a startup that created the Cyanogen OS as a custom version of Google's Android mobile operating system for device manufacturers to use, has unveiled the new Cyanogen Modular OS program.
The new program reveals the direction that the company is taking after its recent struggles. In July, the company laid off about 20 percent of its global workforce, with most of the fired employees said to be working in the company's OS department.
The move was said to be a precursor to the company's shift away from the development of operating systems into apps, but that was later denied by then Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster. He refuted the reports through a tweet, claiming that the company will remain focused on operating systems.
In a blog post announcing the upcoming changes to Cyanogen, the company's decision to remain in operating system development is confirmed, albeit in a different form than expected.
Through the unveiled Cyanogen Modular OS program, the startup looks to continue its original mission of creating an open, collaborative and unrestrictive Android-based operating system. The Cyanogen OS will now be broken into smaller pieces called dynamic modules and MODs, which can be used by device manufacturers along with the ROM that they choose, whether it be their own Android variant or a stock version of the operating system.
The program will also allow developers to take advantage of the artificial intelligence-powered cloud services of Cyanogen. The company's cloud system studies how users utilize the operating system, which leads to the discovery of smarter and more effective methods that can be incorporated into the components of the Cyanogen OS.
The announcement comes amid the news of a corporate reshuffling that sees McMaster stepping down as the CEO of Cyanogen and moving into the executive chairman role. Sliding into the CEO position is Lior Tal, previously the company's COO, while co-founder Steve Kondik is tapped as the new Chief Science Officer.
The future of Cyanogen OS, however, remains unclear. Cyanogen OS is the commercial version of the original CyanogenMod upon which the startup is founded, but the company seems to be moving away from developing the entire operating system. It is also not clear what the Cyanogen MODs will include.
Could this be a case of doing something different just for the sake of it? The company initially had success with getting the Cyanogen OS on the OnePlus One, but there were only a handful of other smartphones that chose the operating system after that. What the modular approach looks like and if it will be adopted by more device manufacturers remains to be seen.