How Cyanogen OS different from Android
- Then there’s Cyanogen OS. It’s not always easy to describe where this version of Android fits into the ecosystem, but to help simplify things we’ve put together this introduction to the things that make this flavor unique. Each of the major smartphone manufacturers have their own fork of Android, complete with features and user interfaces unique to the devices they manufacture and sell.
- As far as most folks are aware, Android begins with the Open Source project Google maintains, receives some secret sauce from the processor manufacturers, and goes off to the manufacturers for the rest of the software modifications that lead to HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz, and others. Cyanogen OS is built in a similar fashion, taking the version of Android anyone can build for themselves and adding in what they feel are software enhancements to improve the overall experience.
- While you’ll usually only find Sense UI on HTC devices and Touchwiz on Samsung devices, Cyanogen is an independent company that has built their own flavor of Android and offers it to manufacturers to load on their phones. This means Cyanogen is responsible for things like adding features, fixing bugs, and supporting whatever hardware the manufacturer has put together.
- Unless you’ve gone and built Android yourself from the Android Open Source Project, side-loaded it onto your device, and cherry picked the apps and features you want yourself, there’s a good chance your phone includes software you have no intention of ever using. For the most part, these apps and features get called “bloatware” by the community, which can mean anything from the apps Google includes in every device running Play Services to those horrible trial games and antivirus apps you find loaded on mobile carrier-supported phones.
- One of the first things you notice about powering up a Cyanogen OS device is the lockscreen, which is a little different from other Android devices you may have used. The way the lockscreen interacts with notifications is similar enough to other offerings that there’s little need to re-learn how to use anything, but the visual flourishes create an appealing glance experience.
- Even with the screen off, Cyanogen OS has several gestures that can be drawn on the display to activate features. For example, you can trace a “V” on the display to activate the flash on the back of the phone to act as a flashlight. You can also draw a circle to quickly access the camera, and swiping gestures are in place for quick music changes.
- The Cyanogen OS theme engine gives users control over the navigation buttons, lock screen, notification draw, system fonts, and a ton more. Their options can be installed as a whole theme, or cherry picked to deliver the ideal experience for the individual. It’s also growing at a rapid pace, due largely to the community-driven efforts from the Cyanogen team.
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