CyanogenMod…Now with Bloatware?
It was recently reported that Cyanogen Inc. (the creators and stewards of CyanogenMod) is going to start pre-loading the Playphone game store on devices that come stock with Cyanongen OS. I was instantly inundated with emails asking me if CyanogenMod (one of my recommendations for an alternative operating system to Google’s version of Android here at the Dark Android Project) was now going to become a lost cause for Dark Android purposes, and whether we’d all be left with using AOSP or some other operating system…
First thing to point out is that Cyanogen OS is not the same thing as CyanongenMod. Cyanogen OS is designed for specific retail partners and comes shipped “stock” with the smartphone. CyanogenMod, rather, is an operating system that you can put on ANY phone that the CyanogenMod community actively supports.
And that answers the simple question of the title of this blog post: No, CyanogenMod will not be coming pre-installed with bloatware like Playphone, only devices that come with Cyanogen OS will. And it’s likely that CyanogenMod will never come with such things, as it’s far easier for the developer community to just create a separate install file for the Playphone store if you really want it, just as they create a separate file for the Google Play Store, just in case you actually don’t want Google’s apps (which at the Dark Android Project, we don’t want them…or at least, we don’t recommend them). Maybe one day I’ll be proven wrong about this, but as it stands I really don’t see the point to it ever being done.
I’ve talked often on my show, Sovryn Tech–and Cyanogen Inc. has admitted as such–that Cyanogen OS (at least) will be getting its own app stores to compete with the Google Play Store. While Playphone doesn’t really excite me, it is the “first shot” at that idea, and gives credence to the idea that Cyanogen OS may also soon come pre-installed with Microsoft apps (as Microsoft–although questionably–has invested in Cyanogen). Personally, I like the idea of new app repositories and app stores (like my recommendation of F-Droid), even though I think Playphone is largely a waste. And really, if you want to play games on CyanogenMod (or any Android-based OS), just use the DRM-free Humble Bundle Store where you can download the games straight off the website, no app store required.
So in the end, what does this all mean for your own CyanogenMod-loaded, Dark Android device?
This is just a company setting up (relatively) benign partnerships to pay the bills, much like Red Hat does so that we can have the fantastic Fedora Linux totally for free. As Cyanogen OS smartphones become more prevalent, they’re still a great buy, as I imagine the Playphone store can be uninstalled as soon as you finish powering up your device for the first time. And these new retail efforts by Cyanogen, Inc. need the support of the CyanogenMod community if they really want to “take Android away from Google”, as the CEO of the company said recently. And for those that want total control of the devices that they purchase, taking Android away from Google is a desirable goal, indeed.