Following reports from earlier this month Android mod-maker Cyanogen has signed a new agreement with country’s consumer phone company Micromax following which Micromax phones will come with Cyanogen’s software installed in them.
The two companies are working jointly to build well-liked local apps and services directly into the phone’s operating system, which seems a little at odds with the streamlined ethos that made CyanogenMod ROM so popular.
However, neither company has given any exact details on the smartphone just yet, other than that it will cost less than the $299 OnePlus One. Full details will be given next month.
This isn’t the first time Cyanogen has inked a deal with a smartphone maker, of course. The OnePlus One also runs a version of CyanogenMod, but this is particularly big news because Micromax is the second largest smartphone maker in India.
“We can really make an inexpensive device seem like a much more premium-level device,” Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster says. “We’re masters at that. The OEM may have last stopped supporting a device with Gingerbread, and we have Kit Kat running on those same devices.”
The arrangement is helpful for both companies. Cyanogen spreads out into a new market and has its OS in more people’s hands, while Micromax can offload device support to a specialized third party company. An optimized OS, lack of bloatware, and quick updates might help the smartphone punch above its weight in the spirited Indian market. It will provide both Cyanogen and Micromax experience of working with a somewhat unusual class of device.
“Cyanogen has always been known as this ‘Android on steroids’ and it’s always been this philosophy of purity and getting rid of bloatware,” McMaster says. “The expectation of this company as it begins to iterate on Android is not to do these iterations that are going to be bloatware 2.0. Everything has to be really meaningful and thoughtful. It has to be something we, ourselves, want to use.”