The founder of the popular AOKP (Android Open Kang Project) Android ROM has just joined forces with Cyanogen Inc. Roman Birg will join Cyanogen as an employee in an unspecified position, but presumably he will be working on development.

AOKP is widely seen as the second most popular Android ROM behind CyanogenMod, and the notion that its founder will join up with Cyanogen seems promising for future CyanogenMod development.

Phandroid, which first reported the news, called it "exciting" saying that "only good things can come from this."

CyanogenMod rising

CyanogenMod is the most closely watched of the Android ROMs right now since it is the first to try and move from a community-driven open source project into a full-fledged business. In September, Cyanogen Inc. raised $7 million in funding to start creating its own Android-based mobile platform to compete with Apple, Google, and Microsoft. It later raised another $23 million.

The company has already put its forked version of Android on one phone, the Oppo N1, a special edition phone that went on sale in late 2013. A second phone from startup OnePlus is expected to ship with CyanogenMod before the spring.

Beyond preloading its software on phones, Cyanogen is also focused on improving CyanogenMod's stock apps, as Google leaves Android's open-source stock apps to wither on the vine. Earlier in January, GalleryNext, a beta version of CyanogenMod's gallery app, went live for early testers in Google Play.

Cyanogen also tried to get a one-click installation app into Google Play, but that was quickly kyboshed by Google. The app is now available as a direct download from the CyanogenMod site, and also requires a Windows installer to complete the process (a beta version for Mac is also available).

Don't worry, unicorn lovers: Even though Birg is going to be a Cyanogen employee, AOKP made clear on its blog that the ROM wasn't going anywhere and that Birg will still contribute to the project.