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Cyanogen targets India next through a deal with Micromax

Cyanogen has announced a deal to bring its customized Android OS to a new Micromax smartphone, a substantial player in the Indian handset market.

Published onNovember 19, 2014

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The move from community maintained custom ROM to a stock option on the OnePlus One was a big step for Cyanogen Inc but the fledgling company isn’t stopping there. Cyanogen has announced a deal to bring its customized Android OS to a new Micromax handset. Micromax being a substantial player in the Indian smartphone market.

Cyanogen OS will come pre-installed on Micromax’s new YU smartphone, which is expected to be a competitively priced mid-range handset designed to appeal to India’s appetite for low upfront cost handsets. However, neither company has given any exact details on the smartphone just yet, other than that it will cost less than the $299 OnePlus One. Full details will be given next month.

We can really make an inexpensive device seem like a much more premium-level device, – Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster

The arrangement is beneficial for both companies; Cyanogen expands into a new market and has its OS in more people’s hands, while Micromax can offload device support to a specialized third party company. An optimized OS, lack of bloatware, and quick updates might help the smartphone punch above its weight in the competitive Indian market.

The two companies are also working together to build popular local apps and services directly into the phone’s operating system, which seems a little at odds with the streamlined ethos that made CyanogenMod ROM so popular. Cyanogen remains adamant that bloatware and feature creep won’t become an issue, but decline to comment on exactly what these new features would entail.

The expectation of this company as it begins to iterate on Android is not to do these iterations that are going to be bloatware 2.0. Everything has to be really meaningful and thoughtful.

Cyanogen also hinted at further expansion plans in the future, which would likely work in a similar way to the Micromax deal. No target regions have been given, but it is likely that the company would target fast expanding, low-cost markets first, such as Asia or Latin America.

Considering the poor initial reception of Android One, another low-price, close to stock Android handset might have a tough time breaking into this increasingly competitive market. What do you make of the company’s chances in India and would you like to see expansion into your home territory?

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