The first CyanogenMod phone is only days away from going on sale, and in a highly surprising move it has gained official approval from Google. As a result of the recognition, the device will be able to offer out-the-box access to the Play Store, as well as a host of other Google services.
CyanogenMod is a heavily modified, unofficial version of Android. It will ship with the OPPO N1 from 24 December, a device which is also available with ColorOS, OPPO’s own operating system, based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
Google has been pretty clear in recent times that it does not want other companies forking Android to produce their own operating systems. A big effort is being made to reduce the fragmentation of Android, but Google believe that unofficial developments like ColorOS only add to the problem.
It is therefore unsurprising that the standard OPPO N1, complete with OPPO’S very own ColorOS, does not come supplied with Google Play.
More than a few eyebrows were then raised when CyanogenMod community manager Abhisek Devkota announced that the fledgling OS has gained official approval from Google for release on the OPPO N1.
Recently the relationship between Google and CyanogenMod has appeared anything but cordial. Last month Google forced the CyanogenMod team to withdraw an app from the Play Store which made it easier to install the modified OS on standard Android devices.
The CyanogenMod team said that Google informed them the App violates the Play Store’s term and conditions, as it ‘encourages users to void their warranty’.
So given Google’s uneasy relationship with CyanogenMod, and its growing dislike of unofficial versions of Android, why has approval been given to the forthcoming edition of the OPPO N1?
Firstly, the move is recognition that CyanogenMod is emerging as a notable contender in the smartphone OS market. In recent months it has gained significant venture capital funding and can now be considered as a serious commercial offering.
Google is not able to halt the march of CyanogenMod. So rather than engage in conflict, it is better for Google to work with the burgeoning OS, encouraging it’s developers to remain harmonised with the stock version of Android.
The other factor at play is CyanogenMod’s hardware partner. As the second most profitable mobile phone company in China, OPPO is a significant player in the country.
China is the world’s largest smartphone market, and Google will be keen to maintain good relationships with companies like OPPO, with a view to future cooperation.
The OPPO N1 is on sale in Europe from OPPO’s official website. The ColorOS model that is currently available is offered with 16 GB storage for €449, or 32 GB for €479.