Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, needs no introduction. This man is a star in the Android community and a true Nexus warrior (hi, /r/acj!). 19 months ago, in August of 2011, he joined Samsung to change the world and make beautiful mobile babies together. Today, he's a free man once again, as he announced his departure from the company via a Google+ post on his Galaxy S4 impressions minutes ago:

On the Galaxy S4

I got to spend some quality time with the S4 (final hardware) before I left Samsung. I'm a huge a fan of the S3 and use one everyday, so I was quite pleased with the S4. Yeah, there is no refresh of the industrial design other than a few minor things such as the edging, but the device actually feels quite a bit more solid than the S3. Specwise, this device blows the competition out of the water. There are a number of unique features that have a lot of potential (assuming Samsung is opening up an API for them) such as the touchscreen which can register "hover" events, and an IR blaster. Benchmarks put this device FAR above the competition (40K on Quadrant CPU) and there should be no reason why it won't run your favorite apps flawlessly. GPS seems to work better than any other Samsung device, with a lock being acquired instantly in almost any condition. The camera is excellent as well, both front and back.

TouchWiz has become a bit more consistent with the latest upgrade. There are no more jarring mismatches in different parts of the OS, and it's been lightened up a bit and has a clean "flat" feel. Unfortunately, it feels like it has been sent a few years back in time to the Froyo days. Say goodbye to all of the nice touch-friendly ViewPagers and say hello again to a fully tabbed UI. You'll also enjoy the seemingly endless onslaught of popup windows and modal "Loading..." dialogs.

On the features side, it's absolutely loaded with stuff. Some of the new features are very useful like the "hover" preview where you can just point at an email message without touching the screen and it shows a preview of the message. The multi-window feature is present here, and is nice to have around when you need it. The camera app has seen some significant upgrades too, with live previews of the postprocessing effects and a new UI. My least favorite new feature is "Smart Scroll" which is supposed to scroll based on face detection + tilt, but it mostly serves to anger me into disabling it.

It's a solid device and a clear choice if you are upgrading from the GS2. You'll feel right at home if you have a GS3 currently, but upgrading is probably less urgent (especially if you're on contract).

I'll probably be picking up the T-Mobile variant when they hit the shelves, assuming they don't lock the bootloaders or something silly and self-defeating like that. Since it's powered by Snapdragon, CM should work wonderfully on it :)

Kondik's Google+ About page was updated accordingly:


Little, if anything, is known of his contributions at Samsung, whether because he's not allowed or unwilling to talk about them (my interview request today was, unfortunately, shot down), and just as little is clear about his future career plans.

Yeah, but not because of anything in particular. Samsung was great. Just decided to do something new. Ask me in a couple of months :)

- Steve's response to my inquiries

On behalf of the whole Android Police team, we wish Steve the best in his future endeavors and have no doubt that he's shooting for the sky next. Or at least the moon. He wouldn't have it any other way.

Image via +Erica Joy (direct link)

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://twitter.com/stealth_voodoo Joshua Johnson

    I thought there was a CM announcement that they weren't doing any work for the S4? Guess he didn't get the memo.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

      Team Hacksung != Cyanogenmod

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Well, technically, they're kind of part of it, but they don't speak for the whole CM. Even teamhacksung.org just redirects to cyanogenmod.org now.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

          What I meant was, just because Team Hacksung says they're not interested in developing for the GS4, doesn't mean they're speaking for the entire CM Team.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
    • M00S3

      They quickly redacted that statement saying that the team "had no intentions of buying the s4" but wouldn't count it out officially. Also he says he's going to buy one and that CM might work on it, he doesn't say hes going to make CM for it

    • Kosta Stoupas

      There never was an official CM announcement.

    • Yannick Binnenweg
    • Yannick Binnenweg
    • ntcongit

      CM team never did any announcement about the S4, it's only a CM member said so

    • SYO

      Not really an announcement made by CM itself. Just the group that usually works on CM on Samsung stuff. The guy who spoke on their behalf cleared it up saying that it wasn't on behalf of CM itself but just the collective sentiment of team Hacksung since they've become so frustrated with Samsung not releasing certain sources I think. If anyone wants to work on CM on the S4, then it will get CM. So if Steve Kondik would be that guy or someone else, then by all means the S4 will see the goodness of CM soon enough.

      I'm still happy with my Note 2 but I'm glad that CM is likely to live on a bit longer on Samsung through S4.

    • Jose Marie Maquinay

      He is talking about the Snapdragon version (which I think is easier for the CM team) and not the Exynos version (that some of the CM team hates).

  • gestur

    Who cares where he works? Is this a gossip column? Only news here are his thoughts on the Galaxy S4.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      In my opinion, this is important for many reasons.

      1. The man who started CyanogenMod joined a company that makes some of the most popular Android devices in the world, and has now left it. When he joined, he suddenly had far less time for CyanogenMod, though he didn't completely step down. It's also possible that he couldn't work on some features and improvements for the open-source community in the same capacity as before due to his insider knowledge and commitment to his employer.

      2. He has been making contributions to Samsung and possibly aligning their vision with one of the Android community. He's no longer going to be doing this anymore.

      3. It's possible that he will have more time now for CM as he won't be bound by his employment contract. Depending on what he's actually doing now, which he won't tell us, this may or may not be true. If anything, this is speculation and not gossip. I don't see the difference between covering his joining Samsung originally back in 2011 (which all the tech blogs did) as opposed to now leaving it.

      • Asphyx

        Reading between the lines of his reply to your interview request...Sounds like he has a new project in mind or is moving to that he can't talk about just yet, hence the talk to me in a few months response.
        So I'm not counting on him dedicating more time to CM at all. And I'm not sure he needs to really.

  • MyOpinion

    Does this possibly have something to do with Samsung's attitude towards developers? Maybe he likes being a free bird.

  • faceless128

    No CM for Octa? Or are they just out of CM for Octa? that Snapdragon comment...

  • BigBernard

    "[Breaking]" is a bit over the top isn't it?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Well, the news was breaking at the time. As fresh as they get.

  • Prashant

    I think Cm just denied to bring cyanogen mod on sgs4.. so s3 still best.

  • Matti

    Ref: "Little, if anything, is known of his contributions at Samsung"

    Looking at the current gen TurdPiss UI aesthetics/design, I'd say he didn't really have the chance to contribute much.

  • Dan Campbell

    I'd like to see him go to Google and work with the Android team. CM is great and maybe he could bring something to Vanilla Android.

    If Samsung really are trying to focus people on 'Samsung phones' not 'Android phones' maybe this had an influence on him leaving?

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/ablelawrence Able Lawrence

    Samsung has been exceptional with their updates (at least the newer models) and may be this man had something to do with it.

  • Akhil P.A

    Also he replied to you that he is not interested in Interviews, rt?

  • http://twitter.com/Vizualize a.d.AM

    Yeah the S4 is SO GREAT that it made CM quit Samsung. HAHAHAHA!! read between the lines people.

    • Freak4Dell

      It didn't make CM quit. It made Team Hacksung quit (but from what I hear, they've been indifferent towards Samsung for some time now). CM has no official position on the S4 yet, and due to the nature of their organization, probably will never have an official position on the S4.

  • duse

    He gave TouchWiz an OK bashing, but it deserves far, far more. It's absolute shit, and as a dev, he should be offended by their continual inclusion of a several year-old, failed UI element, the hardware Menu key, and the way it completely wrecks intuitiveness and good app design.

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

    40k? on what? lol thats fuking high

  • FenkZenk

    lol, no loyalty whatsoever in silicon valley lol.


  • http://www.facebook.com/ScottStandishParkin Scott Standish-Parkin

    Hey, if it gives him more time to focus on CM then it's their loss. Either way, it gives him a chance to spread his wings and work on new teams. The more exposure to what works and what doesn't, allows him the opportunity to take that experience and develop a better CM eco-system which the end users will only benefit from. Good luck Steve!

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

    "There are a number of unique features that have a lot of potential
    (assuming Samsung is opening up an API for them) such as the touchscreen
    which can register "hover" events, and an IR blaster"

    Correct me if I'm wrong cuz I try not to follow Samsung news, but haven't Sony had those "unique" features since last year?

  • marcusmaximus04

    "he's shooting for the sky next. Or at least the moon"

    Even if he misses, he'll land amongst the stars!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Олег-Цой/100002515142603 Олег Цой

    Google should hire him giving the respect he has among android community.

  • jessie cagara

    maybe he is preparing for CM development for that X-Phone motorola might be releasing soon.. Conspiracy Keanu

  • http://profiles.google.com/jayq330 Jonathan Oquendo

    It has to do with dancing trying to make there api unopened & that's not what he's about. So he left, dancing is basically now the sole of android, except it's plastic, even the metallic parts are plastic, what a shame. Also that he only mentioned the specs, but nothing about the invade being intuitive. That's says allot to me