Cyanogen isn’t wasting any time in severing Android’s ties to Google.
The company announced email app Boxer will come preinstalled (and selected as the default mail application) when Cyanogen 12 lands in the next few weeks. You can still use Google’s email service, however, along with Exchange and other major platforms. Boxer also connects to Dropbox, Evernote, Box, Google Drive, and other cloud services for file management.
That update will come to the OnePlus One, and is coming for future devices, which Cyanogen is working furiously on bringing to other phones.
This comes right after a major rebrand and partnership with Qualcomm, whereby the two will collaborate on future phones. It’s part of Cyanogen’s effort to use the Android Open Source Project to build a more “open” operating system free of the ties to Google.
But going alone would means replacing many key Google services. With Boxer on board and the addition of SwiftKey as the default keyboard option on the OnePlus One, the trek is slowly under way.
Cyanogen CTO Steve Kondik recently sat down with us for a video interview, outlining a strategy of hardware and software partners to position itself as an appealing competitor to stock Android.
The story behind the story: Cyanogen isn’t just another Android fork for tinkerers anymore. The company wants to put its OS on phones, appealing to those who want more perceived freedom with their device. CEO Kirt McMaster recently told a conference audience he wants to “take Android away from Google.”
It’s a tall order, as the tight integration of Google's services with Android is part of the appeal for many. Yet Cyanogen has pulled off an impressive series of partnerships, so it’s worth watching whether its effort continues to gain traction.