Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

This man wants to be Google’s new worst nightmare

Published Jan 26th, 2015 11:25AM EST
Google Vs. Cyanogen Android

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Android is the most popular operating system in the world, but can it be freed from Google’s clutches? Android Authority reports that Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster last week spoke at a special event dedicated to the “Next Phase of Android” and he revealed that his company has a plan to decouple Android from Google and make it the truly open-source mobile platform the world has been waiting for.

RELATED: Microsoft might be interested in acquiring the most popular custom Android build ever

“We’re attempting to take Android away from Google,” McMasters said during the event. “We’re making a version of Android that is more open so we can integrate with more partners so their servicers can be tier one services, so startups working on [artificial intelligence] or other problems don’t get stuck having you have to launch a stupid little application that inevitably gets acquired by Google or Apple. These companies can thrive on non-Google Android.”

This is particularly interesting because Google over the years has taken steps to assert more control over Android. While the bare bones of Android are open source, a major component of the platform is the Google Mobile Services (GMS) code that isn’t open source and thus can’t be forked. Basically, Android without GMS means you don’t have access to the Google Play mobile app store and to assorted key Google apps such as Maps, Gmail and Google Now.

We’ll be interested to see exactly what Cyanogen has planned in the next few years and what it will mean for Android, although we wouldn’t expect Google to take a challenge like this lightly.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.