While smartphones running Cyanogen OS are nothing new, we could finally see the first one launching on a major US carrier. According The Information, AT&T is reportedly in talks to launch a brand new smartphone running Cyanogen Inc’s commercial OS (not to be confused with CyanogenMod, the startup’s open source community ROM). They’re calling it a snub to Google, since Cyanogen OS essentially wants to strip all the Google out of Android, replacing it instead with in-house alternatives or even services from Microsoft.
So who would be the lucky manufacturer to offer such a device? Word on the street is ZTE will be stepping up to the plate, although specifics surrounding hardware wasn’t mentioned, only the vendor. In fact, the report goes onto to question whether or not ZTE could even launch a smartphone here in the US, seeing as how the government began imposing trade sanctions on the company earlier this month. This was after the US learned that ZTE was setting up shell companies in an attempt to side-step trade sanctions on Iran.
So, while the prospect of a Cyanogen OS smartphone being offered by #2 largest carrier in the US sounds like an interesting one, we have our doubts such a phone could ever have a successful launch. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen OEMs use forked versions of Android to “weaken Google’s control” of the smartphone market in the US. HTC’s Facebook phone was a flop, and the Amazon Fire Phone probably sold even less units than that.
Aside from being lower-end devices, none of them really offered anything of value outside of a few neat tricks here and there. Nothing that caught the eye of consumers. Cyanogen OS — even with its deep integration of Microsoft apps and services — would likely find itself in the same boat. But that’s just our opinion, we’d love to hear yours. What do you think about the prospect of having a carrier-backed Cyanogen phone on AT&T?