CyanogenMod is one of the biggest hacks to ever hit the Android mobile platform.
It’s got an estimated 500,000 users. Many Android programmers use it as a starting point for their own coding projects. And according to the project’s founder, a number of Google employees have it installed on their Android devices.
Essentially, CyanogenMod is a tricked-out version of the software you’re already running on your Android phone.
Every Android-powered device comes running a version of the operating system, from 1.5 (Cupcake) all the way up to 3.1 (Honeycomb).
CyanogenMod replaces that stock OS with a custom build, letting you make adjustments to your phone that the official version prevents. It opens the door to more sophisticated custom wallpaper, changing the graphic that appears when the phone boots up, or more significantly, tethering your laptop to your phone’s data connection. With CyanogenMod installed, you can even overclock your phone’s CPU, so you can wring every last drop of processing power from it.
“You can customize the hell out of it,” says Steve Kondik, founder of the CyanogenMod project.
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