Android has always been praised for being more “open” than other mobile operating systems namely, Windows Phone and iOS. The question here is not if Android is the operating system that grants the user more freedom, instead the question is whether this “openness” is the most that Android can offer. Cyanogen has, through recent news, shared what is their vision for Android, and how Google has been taking more actions to restrict this vision. The company behind Cyanogen OS, strongly believes that even if Android is more open than other operating systems, the whole ecosystem is not as open as it could possibly be. According to Cyanogen, Android over the last few years, has reached a point in where Google took control of the operating system by restricting users on having the company’s own services installed and being unable to uninstall them.
Cyanogen has recently struck a partnership with Microsoft, in which users of Cyanogen OS are given the option to include different alternatives by Microsoft to some Google apps that come pre-bundled with other Android variants. This is a move by Cyanogen to further separate Android from Google, making the operating system more open to the normal user. Google has argued that users aren’t restricted to using Google’s own services, and that, at its core, Android is still an open-source product, meaning that, anyone has the possibility of changing it to their liking (Provided they have the programming skills necessary to modify the mobile operating system). Not everyone is a developer, most users will keep and use whatever apps come pre-installed on their phone, Cyanogen is changing this by giving users the choice of apps used on their devices.
There has been recent news about Google being investigated by the European Union because of unfair market strategies which have been allegedly traced back to the company. Google was accused of manipulating search results in their own and their partnerships favor, generating the most income possible to both of them. Google is held accountable for around 90 percent of all web searches, and by changing how web search results are given, the company has gained up to â‚¬6 billion, for both their partnerships and Google itself. The company behind the iconic search engine has taken a defensive stance after these accusations, and addressed the issues through a blog post in which they deny making any modifications to search results. These concerns have only generated a lack of trust towards Google, making it seem possible that the company is also subtly forcing manufacturers and users on using their own apps and services.
Cyanogen might be onto something big by trying to get Google out of Android, giving users more freedom of choice towards which applications are included on their phones. Currently Cyanogen is the biggest company taking Google’s power over Android as a problem that must be solved. Cyanogen has taken some steps towards the goal of pushing Google out from the operating system, another recent partnership with Boxer, has changed the default email client on Cyanogen OS, leaving Gmail completely out of the picture. Different companies might begin to rise for a truly open Android which gives users more choices over their experience with their own phones, providing users with a Google-free, pure Android experience.