Cyanogen Launches Installer App To Bring Aftermarket Android To The Masses

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Cyanogen Inc. revealed a few months back that it closed a $7 million seed investment from Benchmark Capital. The vision it laid out at the time was no small one: it wants its cooked version of Android to become the third most-used mobile OS behind iOS and Android proper.

Naturally, that involves getting CyanogenMod onto as many devices as it can, and today the company took one giant leap in that direction. They’ve just made it easier for average folks to flash their software onto their smartphones with an installer app available in the Google Play Store.

If that last bit doesn’t sound like a big deal, then chances are you’ve never tried to install CyanogenMod on your own. After all, the original installation process wasn’t exactly for the faint of heart. While some devices could be coaxed into running CyanogenMod in mere moments, others required lengthy lists of instructions and some occasional finger crossing. Hardly an ideal situation for a company trying to get CyanogenMod working on as many devices as possible.

Even now, there are still some caveats to deal with. The Android app won’t do a whole lot all on its own for one, as it requires a companion Windows installer for heavy lifting so Mac users are plum out of luck at the moment. And most notably, the list of supported devices represents just a fraction of the Android gadgets currently floating around out there, so true mass-market penetration is going to take some time.

But let’s back up for a moment: why would someone want to swap their current Android build (whatever it may be) with CyanogenMod? Long story short, the Cyanogen team has been working to build extra features into their custom version of Android by way of very frequent updates. While they’ve been developing CM for a long while, it’s still very early days for Cyanogen as a company. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t making headway. The team inked a partnership with Chinese OEM Oppo to fold CyanogenMod support into its curious N1 smartphone, and with any luck, more manufacturer partnerships are in the cards, too.