There are more options for people around here who want to shop local – when buying a cellphone.
At least that’s word from Barcelona, where Seattle mobile-tech companies are showing their latest goods at the Mobile World Congress conference.
In addition to the new Lumias that Microsoft announced and the new HTC M9 that was partly designed in the Seattle area, Belltown’s Cyanogen is powering a slick new phablet that’s going on sale soon in the U.S.
Millions of people have downloaded CyanogenMod, the truly open-source version of Android that Cyanogen’s been developing separate from Google. Now the company – which has administrative offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and its development center in Belltown – is starting to work more with phone companies to pre-load its Cyanogen OS operating system onto their devices.
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Selling points of Cyanogen OS include the ability to customize the interface, camera tools and extensive privacy and security features.
The latest – and largest – phone to be released with Cyanogen OS is the Alcatel “Hero 2+.” It’s a 6-inch “phablet” with a high-definition display, eight-core ARM processor, 13 megapixel camera, 4G radio and 16 gigabytes of storage, selling contract-free and unlocked for $299.
The Hero 2+ is running Cyanogen OS 11 and will be sold online by another Seattle company – Amazon.com, which is running Alcatel’s “OneTouch” mobile store on behalf of the French phone maker. It’s scheduled to go on sale early in the second quarter.
Expect to see more phones loaded with Cyanogen software in the coming years, including additional devices from Alcatel and new models from other manufacturers.
Under a partnership with Qualcomm that was also announced in Barcelona, Qualcomm will distribute Cyanogen software on several versions of its Snapdragon processors starting with reference designs coming out in April.