Earlier today, it was reported that Cyanogen's CEO, Kirt McMaster had moved onto a new role as executive chairman for the company. In a blog post this afternoon announcing their new Modular OS, Cyanogen confirmed McMaster's new role. As well as announcing that the company's other co-founder, Steve Kondik has moved onto a new role as the Chief Science Officer for the company. With the new CEO being Lior Tal. So there's quite the shakeup at Cyanogen, and the new Cyanogen Modular OS is their first big change.
As Tal mentions in his blog post here, the Modular OS will allow for smartphone makers to use parts of Cyanogen OS in their own smartphones. This is going to be done using dynamic modules and MODs with their own ROM. This means that someone like Samsung could incorporate parts of Cyanogen OS into Touchwiz. Tal also says that this allows for their partners to use Cyanogen's "expanding Artificial Intelligence cloud services". He explains that these services will learn usage patterns throughout the operating system and will in-turn introduce smarter and more effective ways to resolve intent and interact with smartphones.
Cyanogen is moving away from releasing a full OS for smartphones they've worked on with partners like Alcatel and Wileyfox, and allowing OEM's to use parts of their software. Tal mentions that this was the right way to go, as the Android ecosystem has evolved over the years. Mentioning that it has become more and more fragmented, leading to many users not getting security patches and being left vulnerable. With many smartphone makers having no incentive to push out these software updates. There's also an increased demand for lower-cost smartphones, which has left many smartphone makers figuring out how to scale these lower-cost devices and still make a profit. "Innovation cannot happen in a vacuum, which is what we have today."
This means that the rumors of Cyanogen going with a modular OS are indeed true. It's something different for the team, and with the shakeup in leadership, it's going to be interesting to see how the company moves forward in the next few months and even years.