You may have come across Cyanogenmod in the past. It is one of the most popular custom roms for Android phones around. The latest version CM9 gives a lot of people access to Ice Cream Sandwich that would otherwise not be getting it. The orginal Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Desire or the ZTE Blade are all prime examples of devices that have benefitted from the Cyanogenmod teams work.
One criticism of Cyanogenmod I always had though was that you always lost a lot of the manufacturers’ customisations when using the cm7 or cm9 roms. So if you were using a HTC Desire you would not have any of the Sense features. To some this was the whole point, to get rid of the HTC or Samsung bloat and run Android like it was intended. For others though they wanted replicas of the HTC widgets or most recently Samsung Galaxy Note users lost S Pen functionality when they flashed CM9. Just look at the Play Store for “Sense Style” widgets to see that people do want these features.
Well a team of developers have decided to try and sort this problem out. There statement is as follows:
“Our goal is to have features coming from various manufacturers’ layers seamlessly integrated into your phone, as if it was always part of Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Why is it cool? All CyanogenMod 9 enabled devices can profit it and enjoy features that would need -according to manufacturers- a brand new $600-phone. I’m not so sure about that.”
Their aim is not just to clone Samsung and HTC features. They are adding allsorts of extra functionality to devices that would have otherwise never seen such extras.
An interesting point is covered in their FAQ section:
“Is this a rip-off of apps from Samsung/HTC roms?
No. All the features are written from the ground up and will be opensourced early on. In the end, they will be merged into either CyanogenMod 9 repositories, or Android AOSP repositories (or both).
There is no proprietary code or data involved in our project.”
So it sounds like they are basically going to create a load of widgets, system enhancements, tweaks and new features. That will work and look like the HTC or Samsung equivalents and will also work on any device that runs CM9.
I think this could be really good. Quite often after flashing a new rom I am left feeling I have lost various features that were useful, like a nice camera app or a decent music app or a specific widget. The OpenDesign team should hopefully address a lot of peoples needs with this project.
If you are interested in this head over to their website and have a read. You can even leave suggestions for features that you think would be a good idea as well.