​CyanogenMod makes a move on Google's Android One 'next billion'

CyanogenMod has released its first ROM for devices with a MediaTek processor, targeting Google's Android One devices in a push for the next billion smartphone owners.

It's still unclear how popular Google's Android One smartphones are, but consumers who've bought one of the devices can now install CyanogenMod's popular ROM.

CyanogenMod's release of the ROM for Android One phones opens up another path for the company to target the fast-growing Indian smartphone market.

The developers released Android 5.0 Lollipop-based 'nightlies' for 31 devices last week but for Android One handsets (which it calls 'sprout' devices), they're starting with an Android 4.4 KitKat-based ROM, which will be followed up with Lollipop versions in the future.

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"Android One represents Google's attempt at reaching 'the next billion users' - starting today, CyanogenMod 11 (KitKat) builds are available for the 'sprout' devices," CyanogenMod developers said on the official blog.

"As the devices are currently set up for CM11 only (work on CM12 is in progress) these builds will trickle once a week, every Sunday," they added.

The Android One builds of CyanogenMod are the first that have been developed for MediaTek processors, which power the three devices available under the Android One program so far, such as Karbonn's Sparkle V and Micromax's Canvas A1, which retail for just over 6000 rupees (around $100).

"Mediatek (MTK) devices have been notoriously difficult for the developer community to complete fully functional bring-ups, and this marks a milestone in that effort," the CyanogenMod team noted.

It's still unclear how many consumers in India have devices running Google's Android One OS. The launch of Android One in September was criticised in local media for opting for online-only sales when the device was aimed at consumers who likely didn't have an internet connection.

The Economic Times has also reported that the handsets have been dogged by supply constraints originating in China which have affected their availability, and by competition from Xiaomi and Motorola which offer comparable or better devices at similar price points.

CyaonogenMod has also made it mark in India with Micromax, where its ROM is featured on the recently launched 5.5-inch display LTE-enabled Yureka, which sells in India for $142.

In late December, Google expanded the Android One program to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, which have a collective population of about 200 million. It also added Bangladesh brand Symphony to its roster of Android One partners.

CyanogenMod began rolling out its 'nightly' builds of its Lollipop-based ROM only last week with support for 31 handsets. Since then, it's already bumped the number of devices supported up to 50. The nightly builds are considered less stable than Cyanogen's M builds, but still offer the ability to make calls, and use wi-fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and the camera.

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