Open source Android ROM developers promise “more new things, more often”
CyanogenMod, the company behind the leading community distribution of Android OS, has received $23 million (£14m) in Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
“What does this mean for you as a CM user? Not much yet, except that you’ll see more new things from us more often,” explained co-founder Steve Kodik. “We will continue to invest in the community by way of increased resources, sponsoring more events, and of course staying open. You’ll see new apps and features from us, new services, and also more devices which run CM out of the box.”
The start-up recently developed a one-click installer for its open source software that was downloaded from Google Play Store around 300,000 times in just two weeks. It was later told to pull the mod down since it “encourages users to void their warranty”.
Give me more
Development of CyanogenMod started in 2009, after Kondik (aka Cyanogen) took over the firmware project run by a coder calling himself JesusFreke. The distribution quickly grew in popularity, attracting hundreds of contributions from established open source projects.
Some of the features that improve Google’s mobile operating system include native theme support, FLAC audio codec support, a built-in OpenVPN client, extended application permission management, support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB tethering, and CPU overclocking.
Quite often, the distribution offers the only chance to upgrade the OS on older devices that are no longer supported by their manufacturers. This, combined with overclocking features, lower data consumption and various speed tweaks makes it especially relevant in the developing markets.
CyanogenMod officially became a company back in September, after receiving $7 million in series A funding.
Andreessen Horowitz, which chose to invest in the open source technology, has a long track record in recognising potential: its previous beneficiaries include Twitter, Facebook, Skype (before it was acquired by Microsoft), Groupon and Instagram. Chinese Internet giant Tencent has also participated in the latest funding round.
Another $23 million should allow CyanogenMod to “hire like crazy” – at present, the company employs just 25 people – and open more offices. In order to look after the investment, Peter Levine from Andreessen Horowitz will also join the board.
In response to the NSA scandal, earlier this month Cyanogen Mod introduced end-to-end text message encryption in partnership with Whisper Systems.
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