Device platform player Cyanogen completed an $80 million funding round it said will be used to “hire talent and accelerate the development of its open OS platform”.
To date, Cyanogen has raised $110 million in funding, supporting both its commercial distribution, Cyanogen OS, and open-source project CyanogenMod.
“We’re excited to have the backing of an amazingly diverse group of strategic investors who are supporting us in building a truly open Android”, Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen (pictured), said.
Cyanogen is looking to create a distribution of Android that is free from the influence of Google, including the tight integration of the search giant’s apps with the core platform.
According to Forbes, ambitious US device maker BLU Products has bought into the vision, and will launch a device that will feature alternatives to the Google propositions – mooted were Amazon’s app store, browser from Opera, Nokia Here mapping, Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive for cloud storage, Spotify for music, Bing for search and Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant.
Cyanogen isn’t the first company to envision a Google-less Android, with Amazon’s Fire line and the axed Nokia X line both ditching the company in favour of Amazon and Microsoft-powered services respectively.
And Android market leader Samsung is working increasingly closely with Microsoft, although as yet it hasn’t gone as far as displacing any Google apps on its devices.
Indeed, it has previously been reported that in order to achieve Google certification, Android device makers have to comply with a set of guidelines related to branding and app placement, meaning that a vendor has to take an app from Google’s portfolio – or none.
In the current process, the company has picked-up a number of new “strategic investors”, including Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, Telefonica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom and Access Industries, as well some which have not been named.
Cyanogen previously announced a partnership with Qualcomm which will see its platforms supported by the US company’s Snapdragon processors, including a reference design intended to enable quicker and lower-cost device development.
Previous reports have linked the company with Microsoft, which is probably the international player with the widest set of apps and services that could replace Google.
The financing, led by Premji Invest, also included existing investors Benchmark, Andressen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures and Tencent Holdings.