AT&T has been selling phones to subscribers for a long time, from manufacturers like Motorola, Apple, HTC, Samsung, and many others over the years. But apparently there’s been talks to make it possible for AT&T to sell its own phone at some point down the line, too.
According to a report from The Information, AT&T is said to be considering, or has at least considered, building its own phone to sell to subscribers. To do that, the Big Blue carrier had been in discussions with manufacturer ZTE to create the hardware, but apparently export sanctions made those talks dissolve for now.
However, the bigger part of the news could be the inclusion of Cyanogen in all of this. The company has apparently been in talks with AT&T to build the wireless carrier’s own version of Android for these smartphones, something akin to Amazon’s FireOS. That goes as far as the way the software would be handled and updated, with AT&T being in full control from the outset. This might make updates slow, and some features might not ever make it into the phone as Google rolls them out into Android, just as we’ve seen from other heavily modified variants of Android.
Cyanogen builds and licenses an alternate version of Android already, so a move like this wouldn’t be completely unheard of for the company. However, this would easily be the biggest deal to date.
As it stands, though, there’s no word on how dedicated AT&T is to this plan anymore, or if talks are still ongoing and something is already being built. Still, if AT&T does build its own phone and Cyanogen gets to create a version of Android to get it done, that’s pretty big news for a company that’s been part of the Android community for a long time.