We've seen no shortage of changes around Cyanogen OS this past year. The folks at Cyanogen seem all too happy to integrate software partners into their flavor of Android recently, simultaneously creating new experiences and inviting criticism from users who originally switched to Cyanogen OS because of it's largely bloat-free experience. What we haven't seen a lot of are new features and services made and managed by the Cyanogen team.

There have always been whispers of new services made in-house to compete with some of the things Google is currently offering, continuing the CEO's "bullet in the head" narrative, but a pair of strategic hires from Amazon and Qualcomm being announced today look like the first public moves toward actually attempting that vision.

Yu Yureka

Stephen Lawler, Amazon's VP of Direct Traffic and former CTO of Bing Maps will be joining Qualcomm VP of Engineering Karthick Iyer at Cyanogen, Inc. as SVP of Engineering and VP of Global Systems, bringing with them years of experience in cloud services and chipset-level Android experience respectively. Lawler's most significant public contribution at Amazon is the Smile program, but at Microsoft he lead the charge on Bing Maps and Bing Mobile. Iyer's experience in Android over the last 7 years focused primarily on creating Snapdragon-optimized solutions for customers, a much needed skillset now that Cyanogen has partnered with Qualcomm to provide the OS on the next generation of their whitebox offerings to OEMs.

It's clear the primary goals for Cyanogen right now are developing competing services and growing Cyanogen OS onto more devices, and neither of those are particularly easy. This year is likely to be a critical one for Cyanogen, as the team continues to put all of the pieces into place to attempt a compelling alternative to Google's services. Whether you're a fan of that idea or not, it should be fun to watch unfold.