According to reports, AT&T has partnered with Cyanogen and appears to be building its own version of Android. The US carrier is said to be in talks with Cyanogen to create phones running on the alternative Android. The report shares that the carrier was considering having these built by ZTE, until complications arose due to export sanctions. Cyanogen has already produced and licensed an alternate version of Android but this would be the first time for AT&T to offer a phone that runs the sans Google-controlled OS.
Should this push through, the result would be a new kind of OS that has its roots in Google’s source code but is completely controlled by AT&T. AT&T would not only have the sole responsibility in maintaining the OS, but also be able to integrate the phones more deeply into their existing infrastructure. They would, for instance be able to push their DirecTV Service more prominently to consumers.
This development is presumably due to the fact that carriers have little to no control over what is included on their phones, a situation likely to continue with Google’s continuing efforts to assert more control over Android phones. It is still unclear how determined AT&T is to pursue this development, but should they pursue it, it would signify the biggest break in Google’s control over Android so far.