Cyanogenmod is a group of developers who have created custom firmware for many different android devices. There are official builds of cyanogenmod for popular flagship devices and due to the popularity of the software, there have been many attempts (mostly successful) to port the firmware to other devices.
The first version of cyanogenmod was for the HTC dream (also known as the T-mobile G1). This was the first official android based device to be released to the public and potential app developers. Due to the open-source nature of Android and the fact that it was based on Linux, gave the developers the opportunity to modify the stock software of the G-1 and add enhancements and fixes in order to tailor Android to their needs.
Cyanogenmod became very popular and as more and more Android based devices where released Cyanogenmod was developed for those devices and became the most popular third-party ROM for Android devices.
There have been quite a few major revisions of Cyanogenmod for various devices which are released in parallel with official Android releases.
Cyanogenmod 7 is probably the best known iteration of Cyanogenmod (usually known as CM 7) and is based on the official Android version 2.3 (codename gingerbread). Improvements over the stock version of Android 2.3 included things such as a predictive phone dialer, customized lock screens, bug fixes and also in the late revisions back porting features from Android 4.0 (such as the animations).
Next comes Cyanogen Mod 8 which was based on Android 3.x and was targeted for tablet devices. CM8 did not last long as not long after honeycomb Android 4.0 was announced and the Cyanogenmod team decided to skip CM8 and move straight on to Cyanogenmod 9.
CyanogenMod 9 was based on Android 4.0 Ice cream sandwich and is the most radical re-design of the Android system to-date. The first devices to be targeted with CM9 where the Nexus S and the Galaxy S. As with previous releases CM9 brought many bug fixes to the platform and also an application called SimplyTapp which was used for NFC based payments. CM9 was also very popular as it brought Android 4.0 to older devices that officially where stuck at Android 2.3.x.
As with CM9 CyanogenMod 10 development started very soon after CM9 was released and was based on the official Android version 4.1 (codename jelly bean). CM10 nightly (unstable) build where made available for many devices that had the ability to run CM9, which further prolonged the life of some older devices. CM10 also saw the introduction of ‘M’ released, which where monthly releases of the current state of CM10 after the dev team had certified them as stable builds.
CM10.1 and CM10.2 where based on Android 4.1 and 4.2 respectively and brought major changes to the platform such as support for OpenGL ES 3.0 for graphics applications, updated phone (dialer) application and support for 4K resolutions on devices that supported it. The stability of Cyanogen Mod was also greatly improved in these two releases.
Cyanogen Mod 11 which is the current stable releases is based on Android 4.4 kitkat. The current release cycle utilizes the ‘M’ builds in order to create an up to date monthly build of CM11, in order to ensure that the users of the ROM have the bleeding edge features in a state that is usable on a day to day basis.
In september Cyanogenmod became Cyanogen Inc. This switched from a group of developers helping out the community in their spare time to a full blown company. In order to get Cyanogen Inc off the ground Members ran a funding program and managed to raise a total of US$7 million. This news worried most users that Cyanogen Inc would loose focus from the community and become more profit based. So far at least this has not happened.
Now that the developers had financial backing they could spend more time on developing CM and tools to go along with. Not long after Cyanogen Inc was formed they released an App in order to simplify the CM11 installation process for selected devices. This allowed more users than ever before to use Cyanogen Mod on their device as they would of been cautious of installing in the rare case that something went wrong and ‘bricked’ their device.
Apollo and more:
As well as re-working the core android system Cyanogen Inc have started releasing their own versions of core Android apps such as the Apollo music player and the brand new trebuchet launcher for CM11. These apps are now part of the standard library of applications and replace the stock Android equivalents.
Due to the custom firmware being as popular as it is we can be sure to see CM build for future Android versions for years to come, The main focus for the team now is the range of devices that they officially support and trying to broaden the range in order to allow more Android device users to experience the CM custom firmware.
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