Millions more remain undocumented

The world's most popular replacement firmware -- CyanogenMod (aka "CM") -- recently attracted venture capital which allowed it to launch a simple, click-through installer, making replacing your sluggishly updated OEM/carrier install of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS a simple process.

While the selection of devices eligible for that click-through installer remains disappointingly small, the tool -- and the added attention it brought -- does appear to be benefiting CM's adoption numbers.

The fimrware cracked the 10 million mark this week in terms of officially registered users, just seven months after cracking the 5 million mark.

CM 10 million
It's over 10 million!

There's still some drawbacks of using CM.  It's not officially endorsed by Google and may void your OEM/carrier warranty.  And for those not eligible for the quick-installer you'll need to carry out more complex installation procedures.

But for those left out of the Android 4.4 "KitKat" party by their carriers/OEMs, the benefits are also great.

CM reports that the most commonly installed build is currently its 10.1 nightlies, which are installed on 1.16 million devices.  Samsung Electronics
Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) dominance of the Android devices market is testified by the top three CM-equpped devices in terms of registered user numbers:
  1. Samsung Galaxy S -- 510,913 installs
  2. Samsung Galaxy S II -- 494,178
  3. Samsung Galaxy S III -- 458,570
Samsung Galaxy
The Samsung Galaxy S, S2, and S3 (left to right) are the most common CM devices.

Note that CM's strongest appeal is heavily with devices that were once flagship phones, but whose OEMs largely abandoned update-wise.  It's also important to note too that the 10 million number is likely low, as CM users have the choice not to register their install, and CM believes up to 3 out of 5 users decide not to register their devices.  Based on past unofficial estimates, the true installed base could be as high as 25 million CM users worldwide.

Thanks to its over the air (OTA) updates, which vie with even the best supported new Android flagship devices in terms of update speed and bug-testing some OEMs are starting to consider pre-installing CM on their phones.

While its unlikely that we'll see a company like Samsung or LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) (the #2 Android OEM) embrace CM in lieu of their proprietary bundled firmware alternative, many smaller OEMs may jump onboard.  China's OPPO Electronics Corp. is testing these waters with the OPPO N1 CM edition, which launches tomorrow -- on Christmas Eve.

The OPPO N1 CM edition will feature its neat swivel camera design, plus pre-installed CM.

There's now Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) Snapdragon 800, as OPPO settles for the Snapdragon 600, but that's about the only disappointment on the N1.  The 5.9-inch 1080p smartphone otherwise packs as a high-end spec and features a unique design feature -- a swiveling 13 megapixel, dual-LED flash camera head that offers 206-degrees of swivel freedom, locking in place at the user-specified angle.

While the onboard stacked CMOS 1/3.06 sensor with optical image stabilization won't match the Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)/Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) Lumia 1020, it does offer a unique take on the smartphone camera which may appeal to some smartphone fans.

Source: CyanogenMod

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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