Android is an open-source operating system. Unlike its main rival, iOS, it allows you to deeply customize your user experience, and for those of you who are a bit more tech savvy, it also allows you to change pretty much anything on your Android-powered device, presuming you’re willing to root the device, of course. There are tons of ROMs for Android available out there, and CyanogenMod is quite probably one of the most popular ones. This ROM has been around for a long time, and Cyanogen had even released Cyanogen OS a while back, which is kind of a commercial version of their software which ships on specific Android smartphones (click here to understand the difference). Unfortunately for Cyanogen, however, Cyanogen OS never really taken off as the company hoped it will, and we haven’t heard much from Cyanogen lately.
That being said, The Information has just released a rather interesting piece when it comes to both CyanogenMod’s and Cyanogen OS’ active userbase. A recent investigation into an internal document shares some rather interesting info, and it seems like CyanogenMod and Cyanogen OS have less users than you might think. Back in 2014, Cyanogen’s CEO, Kirt McMaster, said that there are 20 million ‘tracked’ CyanogenMod ROM users, and in 2015, that number rose to 50 million users, at least according to McMaster, though he did mention that the majority of users cannot exactly be tracked. Now, according to the source, those numbers might be off. “Two people who have had access to Cyanogen’s internal data said as of this summer, the company had about two to three million weekly active users of both CyanogenMod (versions released starting in early 2015) and its commercial cousin, Cyanogen OS. (Mr. Kondik [co-founder and CTO of Cyanogen], in the interview, said there were “somewhere in the neighborhood of” four million Cyanogen OS users”. So as you can see, these numbers are vastly different than what McMaster reported. In any case, Kondik also added that Cyanogen cannot exactly track all CyanogenMod users due to the way CyanogenMod was compiled, and the fact that it’s privacy-focused. He also added that Cyanogen never wanted to give out the wrong info regarding its size, but that it’s possible some people embellished data.
So, as you can see, both variants of Cyanogen's software might have far less users than was previously reported, and these numbers actually make way more sense, it’s hard to believe a third-party Android ROM (CyanogenMod) managed to rake up 50 million users. In any case, it is understandable why Cyanogen may want to embellish some numbers, they are funded by venture money, so it’s kind of important for them to look good and what not. It will be interesting to see what happens from the company from now on, they haven’t exactly been in the news that much lately.