Cyanogen officially steals Android from Google (and 9 other April Fools pranks you won’t believe)


It was only a couple of short months ago that Cyanogen vowed to steal Android from Google, and only shortly after that was Microsoft revealed to be a potential partner in crime to make that happen through a lofty investment. Cyanogen would have you believe otherwise, but new evidence suggests Microsoft actually did invest in the company, and they’ve somehow pried Android from within the Googleplex and made it their own.

android powered by microsoft

This is Android, Powered by Microsoft. A leaked build from Cyanogen’s latest test firmware shows a “Powered by Microsoft” label during the setup process. To drive the point that this is a Microsoft affair home, your application drawer icon will effectively be replaced by a Windows logo:

Microsoft logo cyanogenmod

You’ll even find mentions of the code that adds Microsoft’s flair sprinkled throughout the source code of the latest builds. No formal details have been made available yet, but we imagine the two are gearing up to announce later today that they’ve joined forces and have successfully stolen Android from Google (whatever that means).

microsoft code

April Fools! Nothing you read above is real. That code does actually exist, though it’s only in the latest nightly and is obviously a joke, likely to be scrubbed away from nightlies built April 2nd and later.

It’s April 1st, the day tech companies like to come up with ridiculous and silly ideas to market as if they were real, and get fools like you and I to fall for them. We don’t, of course — we assume everything announced on April 1st is fake unless someone makes a really convincing argument (we’re looking at you, Amazon Dash Button).

But just because we have our guard up doesn’t mean we can’t laugh about a lot of this stuff anyway. We’ve had a blast around the digital Phandroid offices sharing and talking about some of the great April Fools pranks we’ve seen across the web so far, and we’re here to share the best ones we’ve seen aside from the charade narrated above.

The Smartbox by Inbox by Gmail by Google… with Android

We all hate mail, but it’s not because it’s usually boring, littered with bills you don’t want to pay, and filled with spammy coupon offers from low-grade local businesses. It’s because the contemporary mailbox is a pain to use and look at!

That’s why Google created the Smartbox. With automatic hand-warming technology, a smart filter system, spam-busting contraptions and a touchscreen for using Android apps for the 2 seconds you’re near a mailbox every day, this is literally the best mailbox ever imagined.


This is Smartbox. Which was made by the folks who made Inbox. Which was made by the folks who made Gmail. Which was made by the folks who created Google. Which started in a garage. That’s the real ‘murican dream.

Opposite day on Reddit

This is the Android subreddit, and it looks like the Apple subreddit. This is the Apple subreddit, and it looks like the Android subreddit. Trolls are even playing along with this palette swap and posting news meant for the other side. Thankfully the mods have loosened their death grip on the subreddits to allow folks to have their fun today.

Motorola’s Selfie Stick

motorola selfie stick

Do you get tired of tech companies detailing the “beauty” of their devices in a way that makes you think Picasso himself was responsible for their creation? Sketches of early prototypes and hipster designer engineers be damned Motorola does too, so they parodied this growing trend by doing the same thing for a selfie stick.

We don’t know why a selfie stick would need to be “beautifully hand-crafted” and all that jazz, but we’re sure some company is actually going to pull that ridiculous, overplayed angle someday. Oh by the way, Motorola has a $140 off Moto X deal today only, and that’s not a joke. Check it out right here.

HTC Re Sok

htc re sok 1

Smart socks. It’s happening, folks, and you’re going to freaking love it. No longer do you have to look to your phone or smart watch to be notified of new messages, emails and Tweets — they’ll go right to your ankle instead!

This is perfect for those moments where you have to bend over to, um, put socks on. Oh, and perhaps change and tie your shoes! Hard to use a phone or smart watch while doing all that so these smart socks are sure to be a big hit.

htc re sok 2

Other features include a sock hole warning system, GPS for making sure a pair of socks are never separated, and even has super SuperSlip Coating technology for making sure you get the best possible slides when running across your kitchen floor like a madman during a home alone karaoke session. You’re laughing right now, but I really wish these things existed. =(

OK, Google Panda

google panda

Forget smartphones, tablets, watches and glasses: the real future of connected technology is stuffed pandas. Google Panda is a cuddly companion that can wrap itself around your arm and answer any question you may have within 0.3 seconds. It does so in 50 different languages, and uses the power of Google’s Knowledge Graph to deliver only the most accurate information.

The funniest thing is we aren’t even excited about this technological advancement for its practical uses: we’re geeked up about the fact that we can officially say that a panda bear is more smart than Siri ever will be.

T-Mobile’s Pet Freedom plans

OK, so dogs and cats can’t use smartphones and tablets, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need connected devices (smart collars, anyone?). That’s why T-Mobile’s Pet Freedom plan is perfect — $5 per month to your existing lines for your pet to have their own pool of data.


A joke, obviously, but T-Mobile’s joke actually rewards pets for everyone who visits this fun page: they’re donating $1 per visit (up to $10,000) to the Humane Society to help endangered animals and pets who have found themselves in tough situations. Kudos, Magenta!


com dot google

No, that backwards URL wasn’t an error. Click it — Google is mirrored! Alongside a flip-flopped search engine that hurts our head more than makes us laugh, this cool April Fools prank showcases one of the new top-level domains Google was able to get approved in the latest ICANN expansion. You can find a full list of other TLD extensions they filed for below.

google gtld applications

AOKP joins Xiaomi!

Ah, AOKP. Your misunderstood (and perhaps inaccurate) history as a ROM with code borrowed from top ROMs such as CyanogenMod and Paranoid Android makes room for a lot of jokes, so why not make it the star of a good ol’ April Fools joke?

Their schtick is that they have been tapped by Xiaomi to make MIUI 7, and will internally call it MiKangy (not to be refused with the porn marketplace app MiKandi). They’ll shamelessly copy the best features from many of the top ROMs, and look to create a user experience that “evolves” over time based on your usage so no two ROMs are the same (likely a parody of the trend of software engineers always claiming their apps and ROMs have a life of their own and learns so much about you that they know what you want even before you do).

Share some you’ve seen!

Those are just a few of the cool and funny April Fools pranks from around the web. You can’t forget yesterday’s introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge that transforms into a butcher’s knife, Google Chrome’s new #SelfieReaction feature, Pacman on Google Maps and the innovative Party Horn text input device from Google Japan.

Oh, and OnePlus made a limited edition $20 toy drone that you can actually buy, though it looks like something straight out of a McDonald’s Happy Meal and we’d probably opt for something a bit more serious.

Any others you’ve seen that we don’t have here? Feel free to share them in the comments section below, and we’ll be adding to this list throughout the day as more pranks and jokes potentially roll in. Keep your guard up and have a happy April Fools!

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I’ll have to flash this to fully appreciate the joke. Well done.

  2. I flashed with april 1 cm12 on one plus and laughed ..good stuff cm team

  3. Google Reader 2.0 on Android Police

  4. I’d actually love a fully functioning Windows tablet that also ran android. Well, other way around really. Full android tablet that runs full Windows programs natively.

  5. These were some good April fools day jokes

  6. Don’t forget your #chromeselfie

  7. You missed Google Fiber’s new Dialup mode.

  8. not gonna lie, I would probably buy a smartbox. It looked awesome

  9. Google won yesterday.

    1. as they always do!

  10. I really don’t think Google Panda would be such a bad idea. There’d definitely be a niche market for it.

    I could see sitting one on my work desk.

  11. I would actually buy a smart mailbox

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