According to a report this morning out of The Information, AT&T is in talks with Cyanogen to launch a phone running a version of Android made by the company, purportedly on ZTE hardware. This is notably the first time that a US carrier has considered selling a phone running the less-Google-controlled version of Android that powers phones like the Yu Yutopia and the WileyFox Swift…
Assumably, this rumored device would be pushed mostly due to the fact that carriers have less control now over their phones than they ever have. Carriers have almost no control over what ships on the Apple-branded iPhones that they sell, and Google is clearly planning to assert even more control over its platform — which has traditionally been more friendly to carriers by way of preloaded services and apps.
Cyanogen has proven that it’s willing to partner with other entities so long as the situation is mutually beneficial. Microsoft is the prime example, which seems to be hoping to make at least a little bit of a stamp on the mobile phone space by its partnerships with the company. One partnership brought many of Microsoft’s apps — like Skype and Microsoft Office — to the platform, and another pre-loads Cortana.
This is the same kind of thing that carriers hope to do if they can secure a Cyanogen-based phone offering. In this case specifically, AT&T would be able to push “DirecTV, its subscription video service,” on customers in a “more prominent way” in hopes of generating “more revenue”. It’s the three-way deal of the devil, and — if it sees the light of day — it will run on hardware from Chinese company ZTE (which has trade sanctions imposed on it). It’s great for Cyanogen, AT&T, and ZTE — and no one else.