CyanogenMod is an alternate operating system over your pre-installed Android OS that gives you an enhanced performance and increases the possibilities of your Android device. It is an improved open source firmware for Android based smartphone and tablets, which offers features that are not found on the official firmware distributed by the manufacturers.
It actually utilizes the open source Android platform to the most extent and provides you the maximum performance, optimization and features which are restricted by the smartphone carriers using the same platform.
CyanogenMod custom ROM is a successful development to remove the restrictions that bound the Android users to the minimum options provided on their smartphones. However, being an open source platform, Android does not restrict itself any way, therefore following the rooting process Android enthusiasts have found some amazing tricks to unveil the maximum possibilities of the Android OS.
CyanogenMod supports plenty of features that are worth considering. It includes many additional customization and interface options. For instance, it features native theming, customized soft buttons and tablets tweaks, enhance notifications and reboot menu. It also features performance boost on your devices, which can extend the limits of your device CPU speed with CPU overclocking. Also it supports open VPN client and enhanced tethering on WiFi, Bluetooth and USB.
Another advantage that CyanogenMod claims is the Spyware or Bloatware free environment. It delivers the genuine Android experience without any Bloatware and other interface customization that are shifted with most of the Android devices by their manufacturers. With these features CyanogenMod actually reshapes performance, responsiveness and battery life of your smartphone.
Since the process of rooting, which replaces the stock firmware on the smartphone, developers have made many custom ROMs. Thus CyanogenMod is not alone in the market but it became popular among millions in less time.
CyanigenMod always tries to remain up-to-date with its new version along with the release of new versions of Android OS. Thus it provides you the fresh and updated sense of latest android version even if your smartphone maker has not launched the updates for your device.
Brief History of CyanogenMod
The story of CyanogenMod begins with the discovery of the “Root Access” of the open source Android operating system that allowed the developers to modify and re-install the stock firmware onto the phone. And the first device to observe this development was HTC Dream or the T-mobile G1, released in September 2008. It came with first Android OS made available publicly for the potential developers.
As the first CyanogenMod was built for HTC Dream, it also progressed with the developments in this regard. With this development the Linux based open source Android OS opened up opportunities for the developers to modify the stock software and add enhancements and reshapes the Android OS according to their own concepts.
The following year observed growth and popularity of several modified firmwares, CyanogenMod was one of them. But it was not until August 2009 when JesusFreke, a popular Dream developer suggested users switch to CyanogenMod, a version of his ROM enhanced by developer Steve Kondik aka Cyanogen. This lead CyanogenMod to popularity within months, the counting of devices supported by CyanogenMod increased sharply and it became the most popular Android firmware distribution.
Right now we have some active version of CyanogenMod that are built over each update of Android OS. Its versions are also split into Stable, Release Candidate, M-series and Nightly categories. Among these the Stable version is the tried and tested variant that is mostly bug free and also the most suitable for customer’s use. Starting from CyanogenMod 7, the best know iteration of CyanogenMod, here is a brief overview of the development of CyanogenMod.
CyanogenMod 7 or CM 7 is the firmware version based on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It features many improvements which are missing on the official version of gingerbread. The improved features include bug fixes along with a predictive phone dialer, new lock screens and many features of the later Android version.
Along with the release of Android v2.3, the development of CyanogenMod initiated. Many of the supported devices received the first Release Candidate of CyanogenMod 7 on February 2011. Two month later with the arrival of 2.3.3 updates of Android, the public version of CyanogenMod 7 was released. This version however lasted for six months and then the CyanogenMod 7.1 arrived in October 2011 with more improvement. It is succeeded by the latest stable version CyanogenMod 7.2, that was released on June 2012.
This was rather a planned version of the CyanogenMod that was to be based on Android Honeycomb. But following the Android updates it was skipped to the CyanogenMod 9. The source code for Android Honeycomb was not opened to developers until the source code for Android version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released. Therefore CyanogenMod 7 was succeeded by CyanogenMod 9 instead of 8.
CyanogenMod 9 is the most radical iteration of Android OS. It is based on the Android v4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Its alpha versions were distributed to Samsung Nexus S and Galaxy S in November 2011. Unlike its successors this version went through some massive improvements and after many beta version and Release Candidates the finish version of CyanogenMod 9 was released on 9th of August 2012. It was later updated and the version 9.1 was released with some bug fixes and addition of Simple app for NFC payment.
With the arrival of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the development in CyanogenMod 9 was swiftly shifted to CyanogenMod 10. Its Nightly builds were soon made available for many of the devices that were supported by CyanogenMod 9. Starting from M1 build in September 2012, CyanogenMod 10 also went through many upgrades and after monthly progresses its stable variant was finally released.
Also with updates in Jelly Bean 4.0 to 4.1 and 4.2 CyanogenMod also released with version 10.1 and 10.2 respectively. These updates brought some major improvements like support for OpenGL ES 3.0, updated dialer and 4K resolutions support. These two releases also improved the stability of CyanogenMod 10 to a great extant.
The process for CyanogenMod 11, based on Android 4.4 KitKat was initiated on 6th of November 2013. A month later the first Nightly release was made for selected number of devices. This initial and unstable version went through many improvements and finally Its M-build arrived with monthly updates and improvements for supported devices.
Unlike its previous version it was cleared that there would be no more final or stable releases instead users would experience the M-builds that represents stable version. This monthly improvement cycle ensure edge features to its users with day to day improvement.
Currently it has another M release, CyanogenMod 11 M12 against the KitKat branch. This release makes it less heavy on features and improves its stability security fixes. And now when Android has announced Android Lollipop, Cyanogen has also released the CyanogenMod 12 based on Android Lollipop 5.0.1.
Now that we have introduced CyanogenMod to you with its brief history, its time to talk about the features of CyanogenMod and then we will discuss how to install CyanogenMod on different Android devices.