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Just a few clickity-clicks and you'll have that latest Android distro that your carrier denied you

For the masses waiting on their oft laggard Android carrier and OEM to update their device to the latest and greatest version of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) operating system (which is currently Android 4.4 "KitKat") CyanogenMod (aka "CM") has offered an escape route.

While the reach of this replacement firmware package was long limited by complicated installation procedures -- procedures that required a fair degree of user tech savvy as the user navigated through as many as 20 steps (a process CM's authors described as admittedly "brutal") -- as many as 24 million Android users may already have taken the plunge, according to CEO Kirk McMaster (this estimate includes unregistered users; 9 million users went through the trouble of officially registering themselves).

Now that reach is poised to expand dramatically as CM has released -- as promised -- an installer app to grossly simplify this process.  To get started you just grab the CM installer from the Google Play store (the installer was at last approved today), grab the PC client app, and connect your Android tablet or smartphone to the PC.  From there the client takes over, requiring just a few straightforward approval click-throughs.  Behind the scenes the installer app and PC client use scripting to do all that heavy, geeky lifting for you, allowing the tech "n00b" and enthusiast alike to experience CM.

 
The Android device-side app [Image Source: Google Play]

A full list of compatible devices is available here and it looks quite extensive.

CM 11
Experienced users might want to opt to download the early nightly builds of CM 11 (which includes Google's new KitKat improvements) instead of the Jelly Bean-based CM 10 which is included with the easy installer.

The only disappointing news is that the KitKat distributions for CM remain in the beta phase (as CyanogenMod 11).  They're available here for experienced users willing to deal with potential bugs, but for entry-level users who opt for the easy-installer it appears they'll be receiving CM 10, which is based on the Android 4.3.1 ("Jelly Bean") source.

CyanogenMod

Company founder Steve "Cyanogen" Kondik, remarks:

Our goal for the installer has always been to allow more users to experience the benefits of CyanogenMod, without the hassles of technical guides and concerns associated with the process.  I’m especially pleased by the support the community has shown for our initiative and want to thank all those that helped beta test the installer.

In addition to making the latest version of Android available to device owners quicker than U.S. carriers/OEMs, CM also snags security features both from third parties and other parts of Google's development tree (e.g. CM boasted SELinux enforcing improvements, back when they were only available as part of special distributions like KNOX).

It is a notch above other replacement firmwares (generally) in that it allows you to tune the setup to your speakers with DSPManager, and updates itself via over-the-air (OTA) updates, reducing any sort maintenance chores for the user.

Once a hobby project for Mr. Kondik, CyanogenMod is now being developed actively by a small engineering team, and scored $7M USD in a recent round of venture capital funding.

Sources: CyanogenMod on Google Play, CyanogenMod, DroidLife



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orly?
By Motoman on 11/12/2013 8:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A full list of compatible devices is available here and it looks quite extensive.


Ummm...actually it looks really poor. There's CyanogenMod support for a whackload more devices than what's on the list.

Apparently the thing is very model-specific, I would guess...as opposed to being capable of just detecting a device model and installing the correct ROM from the CM library.

*That* would be awesome. This is nice...but kind of disappointing.




RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/12/2013 8:54:28 PM , Rating: 1
Its just the first release from an unfunded open source dev... Give it time. Cyanogenmod support over 1 hundred different devices ROM's. The freegin manufacturers dont even do that.


RE: orly?
By Motoman on 11/12/2013 9:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I get all that. My only point was that the existing list is anything but "extensive."


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/12/2013 9:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
Cool...

So, I just did it. From scratch, it is alot easier for a newb. Props for that. Once you are on CM the update process is simple. Choose nightlies, or stable and that is what you will be notified on. Then click the "new version" notification and it will d/l and update automatically. Nothing to it at all, easy as pie, and easier than the pie launcher mod LOL.

If you are already rooted and using a custom ROM (CM or otherwise) its not worth doing, not to me anyhow... I would rather not stick to CM only, but like I said a great option for people that are a little nervous to do it the old way.

Now all we need are more Oppo's for sale in the US... Or more OEM's picking up Cyanogenmod, which is thier goal.


RE: orly?
By flyingpants1 on 11/13/2013 7:34:46 AM , Rating: 2
What does this have to do with Oppo?


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 8:06:01 AM , Rating: 3
CM has gotten some funding, turned into an actual official company and is pushing to get their custom non oem/carrier bloated ROM's officially paired with OEM devices. Oppo is the 1st partner to sign on.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/23/4762618/oppo-n1-...

This automated installer/updater is another step in the plan.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 12:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
RE: orly?
By Mitch101 on 11/13/2013 12:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
Extensive enough that 24 million Android users may already have taken the plunge


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 3:52:09 AM , Rating: 2
There are exactly 12 devices on that list (not counting variants). Unfortunately, they are either newer flagships or Nexus devices. Devices that need CM the least, that is. I've said this from the beginning, device support is CM's Achilles' heel.


RE: orly?
By kleinma on 11/13/2013 10:10:55 AM , Rating: 2
I am running CM on my S3 from Verizon. Was a slight pain to do the rooting and unlock the boot loader, but once it was done it was done. The built in auto updates of the nightlies means I can update as often as I want to the latest build without having to reset up/configure my phone. Only when going to full new base versions (like going to their version of kitkat) will require a wipe before flashing.

So far my phone is much better off with all the samsung crap off of it. I have encountered a few bugs, but I am running nightlies, I could stay on the most recent stable build, but I like to see the progress.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 10:20:52 AM , Rating: 2
There are over 100 devices that CM supports. OEMS dont even support that many, not one of them... The "12 devices on that list (not counting variants)" are just the first batch of supported models of the automated installer.

http://download.cyanogenmod.org/


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 10:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
We've had that discussion before. Yes, there are several supported devices, but most of them only get older versions of CM, or they get beta or nightly builds only. A geek's dream, I suppose, but nothing an ordinary user will ever touch.
The problem as I see it is that if a modem only has drivers for a given device that only work on Gingerbread, nothing CM does will ever make those drivers work on ICS or later. Because most drivers in a smartphone are closed-source cr... I mean goodness.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 10:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
" most of them only get older versions of CM,"

Not true at all. Even the old Droid 3 (Solana) has CM10.1 which is Android 4.2. Most are at least supporting Android 4.2 or better. Anything any everything from 2012 or newere gets the absolute latest.

What is it that you are expecting? You want to own it, own it and take control. You seem to want someone else to manage it for you. If that is the case buy an iPhone or a Nexus.


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 11:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even the old Droid 3 (Solana) has CM10.1 which is Android 4.2.


Again: nightly builds only. You call that supported, I call it unsupported.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 11:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
It works...

Again, I ask, what is it that you are expecting? If you want to own it, then own it and take control of your device. You seem to want someone else to manage it for you. If that is the case buy an iPhone or a Nexus.


RE: orly?
By kmmatney on 11/14/2013 12:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
I had a nightly kill my Nook HD+ - I recovered eventually but it was a real pain. You should avoid nightlies - or at least wait a week until enough other people say it is OK.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/14/2013 11:57:46 AM , Rating: 2
An official OEM/Carrier ROM can brick your device. It happens all the time. Nightlies are perfectly safe. Boot to recovery, back up your ROM, wipe it, flash it, if you dont like it , go back to your recovery and restore your original ROM. If that isnt your process, you are doing it wrong.


RE: orly?
By kleinma on 11/13/2013 11:04:33 AM , Rating: 2
sometimes older versions are better than no versions. CM9 gave new life to my 99 dollar HP Touchpad.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 11:13:54 AM , Rating: 2
LOL... I know right? I am running CM10 on my old touchpad and there are 10.1 available... Runs freegin fantastic.

Some people seem to want to keep their old mid range phone, not upgrade it, and they want someone to make ROM's for it with the latest OS's and not only should someone be making ROM's for it, they should make it easier to load the latest ROM on their 3 year old mid range phone. LOL. Someone should also be in change of handing me free money since this is all just a dream.


RE: orly?
By Mitch101 on 11/13/2013 12:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
It does the job and surprisingly well.

CyanogenMod has been significantly more stable than any other Android device Ive owned. Im looking at you SamSuck.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/13/2013 12:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
Wha.......a.....aaaaat? <------ typed from a Samsung Bloatmare. ;)


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/14/2013 3:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some people seem to want to keep their old mid range phone, not upgrade it, and they want someone to make ROM's for it with the latest OS's and not only should someone be making ROM's for it, they should make it easier to load the latest ROM on their 3 year old mid range phone.


Well... yes. If the hardware can handle it, why should I buy a new phone? As for ease of installing, I haven't mentioned that at all. It can stay as geeky as possible for what I care.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/14/2013 7:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
You shouldn't if you don't want to, that wasn't my point. My point is you shouldn't sit back with your old mid range phone and complain when some 3rd party doesn't "officially" support it for free.

Cyanogenmod supports 100's of smartphones phones, all free of charge.

Bug77: They dont support ALL phones mid and low end phones.

Cyanogenmod had ROM's available for most mid range and many low end phones from the past 3 years (and pretty much all high end phones of course).

Bug77: Not all of the low and mid range ROM's are "official" they are just "nightlies".

Cyanogenmod has just given you 1 miullion dollars!

Bug77: Great, now I have to pay more taxes.

Seriously, what is wrong with you ??? LOL


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/14/2013 9:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
Again, we're using different definition of "supported". All those beta and nightly build have known issues. Some of them are non-working cameras or wifi. Some (rare, I believe) will brick your device. You may be comfortable installing that on your phone, I'm not.
As for the "sitting back", I'm not sure what else I can do about it.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/14/2013 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
Your sense of entitlement absolutely amazes me.


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/14/2013 4:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
What can I say? I never had to wait for someone to provide updated images of Windows or Linux for my PC. I have a hard time starting doing that for a lousy phone.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/14/2013 5:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Do you mean that MS gave you free upgrades from XP to Vista to 7 to 8 ? Or did a 3rd party do it for you? I am confused :P


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/15/2013 3:15:38 AM , Rating: 2
Now you're just playing dumb... You know very well what I'm talking about.


RE: orly?
By retrospooty on 11/15/2013 1:18:00 PM , Rating: 2
I do, but you know what I mean as well. I really think you are expecting too much. CM gives you something for nothing... Something really great in most cases...

You are sitting back and picking cases where they aren't giving you something good enough for free. Come on. Gift horse.


RE: orly?
By ven1ger on 11/14/2013 7:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
For the amount of grief that you seem to have over this, did you pay for it? Sorry, but if you get something for free, don't think you should be this upset it doesn't support everything for you. If you want them to provide support for what you want, I suggest that you donate to them and you can ask them to provide support that you expect but back it up with the amount of $$$.

I haven't even dared to try to replace my daughter's OS on her phone because I'm worried about messing it up but, I'm glad there are options that others are perfectly willing to spend time and effort on and make it available for free.


RE: orly?
By ET on 11/13/2013 7:14:26 AM , Rating: 2
The official support list is not that big, but there are lots of people making CM available for other devices. I guess these ROM's won't be made available through the official installer.


RE: orly?
By CZroe on 11/13/2013 8:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah. I was wondering why there was no mention of how it overcomes locked bootloaders. Answer: It doesn't. Without specific versions of specific phones, you're probably still screwed.


RE: orly?
By bug77 on 11/13/2013 9:01:57 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't charge your battery if it's nearly empty either. What's your point?


RE: orly?
By CZroe on 11/17/2013 12:31:10 AM , Rating: 2
My point is that it's not "Just a few clickity-clicks and you'll have that latest Android distro that your carrier denied you" as the article presents it and it doesn't help at all with the primary hurdle to installation (locked bootloader).

The article laughably reads as if there is no such thing as a locked bootloader and speaks as if only specific models are "compatible" and "incompatible." Many can be unlocked. Many can't. Many have unlocked variants. Many don't. Many have bootloader exploits. Many don't. This does nothing to help the real mess.


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