Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn, best known for being an Apple supplier, has made a strategic investment in the Cyanogen version of the Android mobile OS.
It’s not clear how much Foxconn has invested. A spokeswoman told TechCrunch: “We do not disclose individual amounts from our investors,” adding: “Foxconn is a strategic investor as we continue to scale our commercial business globally.”
Other previously disclosed investors in the round include Premji Invest, Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries and Santander Innoventures. Cyanogen has said its Series C funds will be used to accelerate hiring and product development of its open OS.
Cyanogen has raised a total of $110 million in funding to date with the aim of building out a direct-to-consumer Android ROM business that offers developers and consumers the chance to side-step the Google-flavored mainstream version of Android.
The Chinese market is dominated by Android Open Source Project versions of the platform, so Foxconn’s involvement here makes sense.
“Our diverse group of strategic investors reflect our user-focused vision in creating an open platform that evolves Android, create a new class of experiences and interaction models, and more deeply integrates 3rd party apps and services,” the spokeswoman added.
Foxconn’s involvement is also interesting given how the firm has been diversifying its activities in recent years. It’s working with Nokia, for instance, manufacturing a Nokia-branded Android tablet (called the N1) under license from the Finnish company — building the hardware but also handling sales, distribution and marketing.
It has also been experimenting with hardware acceleration, setting up a small incubator on an ex-Nokia campus in China back in 2013.