CyanogenMod developers reluctant to work with Galaxy S4 [Updated with official statement from CM]

Those hoping the Samsung Galaxy S4 might be put to better use with the help of a custom build of Android may have an arduous road ahead of them. Team Hacksung, the group behind the official CyanogenMod ports for nearly all of Samsung’s major handset releases, has no plans to work on a build of the popular third-party Android software for the latest Galaxy handset. Here is their official statement:

“Nobody at Team Hacksung (the team behind Galaxy S2, Note, S3, Note2, G Tabs… official CM ports) plans to buy it, neither develop for it. There are two variants which will be a pain to maintain, [and] the bugs we have on the S3 will probably be there on S4, too (camera), and we all know Samsung ability to release sources while staying in line with mainline. Yes Qualcomm releases sources, but Exynos sources we had were far from [working on] actual Galaxy products. I’m pretty sure the same will happen for this one.

That’s a uniform “no” from us.”

Other established developers are taking a similar stance when it comes to the Galaxy S4, citing technical issues as well as Samsung’s history of not playing nice with independent devs. In other words, if you are hoping for a refined custom ROM experience on the GS4, you are out of luck for the time being.

We’re sure quite a few intrepid developers will take a stab at working something up for the incoming flagship, but without the aid of a larger supporting cast of modders and tinkerers, it could be a while before we see any movement on that front.

Update: The CyanogenMod team has responded via their official Google+ page, mincing no words in saying “CyanogenMod does not pre-announce support or lack of support for devices.” While acknowledging the statements of independent developers expressing hesitance about working with the Galaxy S4, the CM team reminds us this does not reflect the stance of the project as a whole. In other words, there is still hope for CM on the GS4, but it might not be coming from the developers we are used to. Here is the full statement:

“Setting Device Expectations

Let’s start with the simplest form of this: CyanogenMod does not pre-announce support or lack of support for devices. Ever. Even for the Nexus 4, we did not announce support until a nightly build was available. Further, any announcement regarding the ‘dropping’ of device support will be communicated via this Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook, our blog, or a combination of those; it will not be something buried in a forum post.

This morning, a comment from a CM collaborator on XDA was taken to be as an ‘absolute’ in regards to support of the S4. He offered the opinion of four TeamHacksung maintainers, their frustrations and lack of interest in supporting the S4. What’s seemingly lost on those reading this is that his comments as an individual do not speak for CyanogenMod as an organization.

As for the team’s stance on the S4, there isn’t one at this time, and most definitely won’t be one before the device is sold at retail.

-The CyanogenMod Team”

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  • Butters619

    You see that HTC? This is the time for you to release your camera source for the One so Devs hop on that train.

    • vawwyakr

      Absolutely agree, its what sent me to the S3 instead of the One X (that in the battery). I’m pretty sure I’m going to the Nexus next though, I still don’t get why these companies don’t start trying to compete on whose phone is the most open instead of the most locked down.

      • sc0rch3d

        Apple would laugh and point at the cash in its bank account. :)

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        “I still don’t get why these companies don’t start trying to compete on whose phone is the most open instead of the most locked down.”

        Because 95% (or maybe 99%?) of their customers don’t really care and will buy any device out there as long as marketing is good and their friends are using it/people talk about it. Tell them that your new smartphone “aims for openness/has unlocked bootloader and supports the community!” and they’ll not have a clue or care as to what that means.

        • Robabobbob

          You are right about that, most people don’t care about how open a handset is. However I would say this. People who no little about technology (the majority) very often ask people they consider are in the know (these would be people like us), they then form their buying decision on our recommendations. So therefore a manufacturer creating a phone that appeals to geeks will not just sell a phone to said geek but also to their family and friends. I personally have friends and family using Android devices I have recommended and know the same has happened with other technically minded people.

          • Abhijeet Mishra

            Yes, but I myself have never not recommended a Samsung device because they haven’t been supportive to CM. I merely make a recommendation based on what OS the device is running and whether it’s going to get an update and stuff like that.

            Basically, there are a lot of “geeks” like me who don’t tell people not to buy a device based on the manufacturer’s community support. I sure am not going to say no to anyone about to buy a Galaxy S4, though I might say no to HTC One seeing HTC’s slow update speed and no microSD slot, or to Nokia for having no FM radio on Windows Phone, but certainly not because they don’t support the community.

          • Robabobbob

            Yes but this just strengthens the reasons to keep us (geeks) happy. The reason each geek is happy varies from openness to updates and certain features in the software/hardware. I’m just saying that most oems overlook this fact.

  • DavidVarghese

    Wow, I was expecting the S4 to get a lot of support… The Cyanogenmod team aren’t the only devs to skip the S4, and that raises some flags for me. One of the main reasons I’d consider getting the S4 is its dev community, but it already seems like it’s not gonna get much support.
    Lets see if HTC can take advantage of this timing…

    • xtroria

      Probably the thing is that big little architecture is different from other kinds of processor. It’s kinda a deal breaker from me as i hoped s4 will get a massive support from CyanogenMod team

      • DavidVarghese

        Yeah for me as well… Hopefully some other devs can pick up the slack, but from what I’m reading on XDA, there won’t but much support…

    • PhoenixPath

      The strangest bit? The guy who started CM has been working for Samsung for some time now.

      …you’d think support for their devices would get better…not worse.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.moch.10 Chris Moch

      I really hope they aren’t skipping the S4 because “its too similar to the S3″ or some other bullshit like that. Not everyone owns an S3.. that’s just reality. Not everyone has the financial position to drop $600 each time something new hits the shelves. Most of us are tied to a 2 year contract and can’t afford to make drastic moves in the name of tech. .

      To not support a new device with all those people coming off their VZW contracts is a huge slap in the face to the community that’s supported them and followed them through each iteration of their roms across multiple devices and in some cases years of loyalty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    …aaaand I’m out. No way I’ll buy an S4 without CM’s support. You hear that Samsung? Do you? I might only be one person, but I have a lot of people who know I’m a phone geek and will ask my opinion on what phone to get. At this point, it won’t be the S4.

    • Big_EZ

      I doubt I will either. I don’t run CM, but the roms I do run are what they are partly because of the CM team.

    • abc

      Never mind not in the mood to argue and the article has been updated, and development may actually happen. Guess we all have to wait and see…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        I’m so glad you’re so much smarter than the rest of us. Hey look! They call themselves Team Hacksung! That means they HAVE to develop for Samsung! Logical fallacy there fellow.

        They might end up developing for the S4, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any enthusiasm for it. That means the ROMS will flow like molasses, not water. You’re the one pinning your hopes on a name of a team. I guess that means the Dallas Cowboys have to all ride horses and rope cows, eh? Those 49er sure are getting tired of digging in that mine!

        And as of right now, the S4 isn’t the best selling anything. It hasn’t sold one unit yet. Past performance isn’t an indicator of future performance. Otherwise, the EVO line would be the #1 selling phone on Android right now.

        • enomele

          Yawn.

      • Andrew Dodd

        And you know what? That’s what’s happening – THS (who have been responsible for the CM bringups on Exynos4 devices – note, we did NOT work on the Qualcomm-based devices and those are in a much better state as far as CM goes) is in the process of shutting down our git repo.

        This pretty much says it all – https://github.com/teamhacksung/this_organization_will_be_wiped_soon

        (Basically, all of our source has long since been forked to the main CM repos. THS github is where we did early bringups, and we won’t be doing any more of those on Samsung devices.)

        FYI, our decision to stop won’t have any effect on Qualcomm-based devices. We’ve always been the Exynos guys. And as stated, nothing (other than a detailed history of our unpleasant experiences and an expected lack of platform documentation) stops anyone new from attempting an Exynos5 “Octa” bringup.

        That said, we’re all switching to Qualcomm-based devices, but not to Qualcomm-based Samsungs. Most of us have Sonys now, but for various reasons we’re not going to just rename to Teamhacksony. :)

        Oh, as far as XDA donation drives – I’ve never been a fan of them, and I know in this case, you could give me a free device and offer me $3000 and I’d still say no. I can’t speak for the other Exynos4 guys, but they have all reached their limits too I’m fairly certain.

        DISCLAIMER: This is all my personal opinion, and not any official statement on behalf of CyanogenMod.

    • TheOtherGuy

      When I buy a phone, it needs to meet 2 requirements:
      1. It has great hardware
      2. I can install my own rom on it (almost always CM!).

      I have installed CM on all of my phones, my wife’s phones, both of my parents’ phones, my sister’s phone, my friends’ phones, my colleagues’ phones at work… etc.

      I’m taking part in running FSF Europe campaign “Free your android”. At work (in a University with lots of students!), I’ll help anyone unlock and install a new rom on their android device.

      I was looking to buy S4 Exynos model (because of the hardware) and install CM on it on day 1 when they release nightlies. It seems like I may need to look for an alternative phone and suggest everyone to stay away from this one!

  • toomuchgame441

    What a twist of events!

  • guitarist5122

    CM use to go on a phone as soon as I got it. strangely though, I actually like touchwiz more. rooted, but left my Tab 2 and Note 2 stock.

  • Michael

    AND SO ENDS MY GALAXY ADVENTURE. CAPTIVATE THROUGH S3. ITS BEEN FUN. THANK YOU CM FOR ALL YOUR WORK. GOODBYE SAMSUNG

  • earth

    I’ll go where the XDA devs go. Am on SG3 / CM10.1, which is like having a new phone so will probably wait for Fall lineup of phones (and Sprint on 800mhz LTE). SG4 screen too big for one handed operation anyway. Might be heading back to HTC, depending on what is coming this Fall.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.moch.10 Chris Moch

      I’d love to wait myself but that isn’t an option. May 5 my sentenance in the Verizon prison is over and I’m really really wanting to smash this thunderbolt into the pavement and piss on it’s remains. I’ll get the GS4 and hope that the CM team realizes it aint all about Exynos and there IS a Qualcomm version as well.

      Hopefully those of us with the Snapdragon 600 onboard don’t pay for the Exynos users.

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    and Samsung just lost a couple hundred phone sales. I bet they’ll have to cry themselves to sleep.

    • Big_EZ

      You’d be surprised at how many people the “techies” that skip this phone will influence. It’ll still be a hit, but I think it’ll have less sales than the S3.

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        I think it will still sell millions and more than S4 and not bother Samsung in the slightest. I myself will not be stopping anyone (two of my friends are already dead set on getting one after being dazzled by the octo-core xD) from getting it despite being a techie because no one I know uses AOSP ROMs, or even custom ROMs for that matter, and Samsung has the best pricing and update policy here in India right now. Sure, quite a few will tell their not to buy it because “Samsung doesn’t support the community,” but it isn’t gonna make a big difference.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        It’ll easily sell no less than 25% more than their S3 sales.

      • shooter50

        you should be more concerned with how the Nexus 4 is selling. NO ONE in the general public even knows it exists. Poor marketing and distribution, 3 G only, fragile glass back. And you worried about how the S4 will sell???

        • Big_EZ

          I don’t care anything about the Nexus 4, it doesn’t have a microSD slot. It also isn’t sold at the major carriers.

          • No_Nickname90

            T-Mobile doesn’t count? =.[

          • Big_EZ

            I guess it depends on what you consider as a major carrier. I consider decent signal a minimum to be considered major, and no one I know on T-Mobile ever has service or drops calls frequently.

        • Sean

          Um, the N4 does have 4G. Just because it doesn’t have one specific type, LTE, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have 4G. I’ve yet to see any fragility with the back more so than the front. All phones have one side totally covered in glass, so you should be being careful with any phone regardless. At least it looks and feels a hell of a lot nicer than any phone out there that’s plastic.

    • earth

      There are nearly 4 million active CM users.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        4 million installs across all devices on the market. Not unique users, and not Galaxy S3 owners. And that’s still a tiny fraction of devices that they’ll sell.

        • Andrew Dodd

          200k+ confirmed installs for Exynos4 devices.

          What nearly all of the articles are leaving out is that THS primarily did the international Exynos variants – Steve (cyanogen) and 10+ others do work on the USA Qualcomm-based S3 variants. It’s the Exynos4 guys (including myself) that have decided “no more”.

          The Qualcomm-based S4s already have at least one experienced maintainer lined up who has experience with the platform. In addition, Qualcomm-based devices have CodeAurora as a reference.

          Exynos-based S4s currently have no maintainers lined up that I am aware of – will a new one crop up? Who knows. Given the history of lack of contribution to the Exynos4-based bringups, I’m honestly a bit doubtful, but maybe with those of us who worked with Exynos4 switching to Qualcomm-based devices, we’ll see someone new show up.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        oh… to add to it… Cyanogen, the man behind the internet handle, works for Samsung… he’ll certainly support it still… who cares if smaller modders that use CM as a base don’t support it…

        • http://www.facebook.com/aleis38 Jay Rock

          and…thank you!

    • UniBroW

      I can count, off the top of my head without really thinking about it, at least 7 people who’ve bought the Galaxy S3 on my recommendation when shopping a new Android phone. But you’re probably right, they’ll only lose a couple hundred sales…

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        And I can count 9 people in my immediate family – brother and his girlfriend, wife, mother, father, in-laws, brother in law, sister in law – that went out and got an S3, Note 2 or will wait for the S4 for the touchwiz features after having used my S3. That’s not even taking into account those I work with or am friends with. Samsung sells itself… your minority will remain such.

        • UniBroW

          I love my S3 but if it was locked down and not developed for I would have taken a pass on it. I actually don’t dislike Touchwiz, aside from the atrocious green colors, and find a lot of things it brings to the table better than stock Android.

          You can say whatever you want, but htc was king in Android land and they crapped all over the development community and Samsung came along and woo’d everyone away. I’m sure the S4 will do just fine but Samsung should support the development community.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            HTC was king in Android land til approximately when Froyo hit and stock features outpaced Sense features. Little add-on features sell, and Samsung has them right now in spades; and HTC seemingly abandoned them in favor of information overload in Blink and product abandonment.

          • UniBroW

            What features are you talking about, specifically? I’m willing to bet 9 out of 10 Galaxy S3 owners have no idea what their phone does that a stock Android phone can’t do. I’m not saying their aren’t features but I think your view of the entire thing and the rabid defending of Samsung here just screams fanboism

          • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

            The best, and only Samsung/TouchWiz feature I ever used in my Galaxy S3 or Note 2 was the toggles in the notification area. Other than that, I turned EVERY TouchWiz feature off.

          • UniBroW

            Best touch wiz feature is swiping down from the top of the screen in a full screen app, makes the notification bar appear and it also becomes accessible.

            That’s about it though

          • Joseph Kool

            Because you’re a fag

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            a T9 dialer and Facebook integration are included for starters, both are old and expected, yet stock has neither. Others… like the best camera app on Android. The best Calendar app. The best Contacts app which added functionality when swiping and is built into the phone app instead of stand alone. Notification panel toggles that actually work instead of Stocks implementation where no 2 do the same thing. The best gallery app with multiple views and video previews. Motion controls add functionality, like putting the phone to your ear to call someone when in a text or the contact details… a way to take real screenshots of your screen, instead of what your screen looks like when turning the volume down… I haven’t seen an S3 owner yet unable to utilize any of these.

          • UniBroW

            I’ve actually had people complain to me that their Samsung S3 was being and acting funny, turned out it wasn’t a bug or anything…it was a “feature.”

            Also, holding down volume + power, rather than power and home is a lot easier when using one hand…surely you weren’t talking about that thing where you “wave” your hand over the screen to take a screenshot right?

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            The screenshot method of swiping your hand across? Yup. The one that doesn’t turn down your volume. It’d be interesting to know what features they think are buggy… because they all work flawlessly. Sounds more like user error than anything…

          • Big_EZ

            Let’s not forget the Droid brought Motorola back, then they started locking down phones and look where they are now. Samsung has been the main developer friendly manufacturer for awhile now, it’s a big part of their success.

          • enomele

            Samsung doesn’t lo mas down they’re phones as bad as everyone else, and typically is the first to release source code.

  • Guest

    I was already leaning towards the HTC One and this pushes me more towards it. Though not having CM isn’t a deal breaker for me, I do like owning a device with a good dev support system.

  • phinn

    This is the downfall of Android to me – no CyanogenMod support for two reasons:

    1) I can’t stand third party UI changes to pure AOSP Android, which I imagine it’s going to get even better with Key Lime Pie.
    2) This is the only real way to get timely updates.

    My rule for the past year: No CM support = No buy. All I want is an LTE Nexus.

    • uniquename72

      Downfall of Android? Are there not dozens of other phones CM runs fine on?

  • bmg314

    Here’s hoping the gentlemen with the pink unicorn pick up the gauntlet and supply us with what CM won’t.

  • supremekizzle

    ROMs are working great for me… oh, wait….I have a Nexus 4 and development is encouraged.

  • Pepe_El_Toro

    The main problem is… when Samsung stops updating to new versions of Android.. what will this people do? Like my original Samsung Galaxy S was stucked on 2.3.6 then I decided to go CyanogenMod to get the latest Android 4.1 and it worked just fine. I am a techie too and now on I will not recommend my familly or any friend to get the new SGS4…

  • rogue3

    I’ve been considering rooting my S3 & flashing CM (had it on my Fascinate & loved it), but what’s the camera bug the article refers to? Any other big bugs I should know about before flashing?

    • UniBroW

      I’m not sure, I had the latest nightly of CM on my Sprint S3 and camera issues was certainly NOT one of the problems I had…camera worked just fine.

      The biggest problem for me was the damned cdma radios, though that wasn’t an intermittent problem (something that was able to be fixed, and in the latest nightly my Google wallet stopped working and the damned mms bug. Decided that I need my phone to just work and flashed back to stock, which isn’t bad.

    • AdrianP513

      I haven’t come across a bug with the camera. There aren’t many bugs at all really.

  • ari_free

    All I can say to these devs is…good luck if you think it will be easier to get cyanogen on iPhone! #thegrassisnotgreenerontheotherside

  • ac

    I seem to recall the same thing being said about the Note 2, prior to its release. Or am I mistaken?

  • fredphoesh

    Yeah, I have read a lot of negativity in the hacking community WRT how closed and un-cooperative samsung is. I am making a move to HTC or sony or maybe Motorola for my “next galaxy” upgrade. Adios Samsung, seems you have gotten too big for your boots… just like the wankers at the apple corporation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

      I’d consider Sony before HTC, if that’s your reasoning. Just sayin…

      • fredphoesh

        yeah, pity the phone just isnt as good as the HTC… in every way.
        I dont like the plugs on all the sockets, especially the headphone jack, im sure it would wear off when using headphones with the phone in the pocket. But from what ive heard, the sony guys are way more open to sharing source code information than anyone else at the moment.

  • Guest

    Cyanogen has a lengthy post on his Google+ about how this is untrue. Can we get an update to this story?

  • Samuel Serafim

    This noise keep the things soo fresh.

  • rustygh

    I thought most you guys in here wouldn’t give two craps about S4. What we really want is the software put in to a ROM for S3
    ….and you guys that don’t have S3 yet are going to get some real cheap deals soon.

  • agb8369

    Seems a tad presumptuous for anyone to make an emphatic statement like this for a device not even out yet. High drama….. Perhaps an HTC employee ;)

  • Joseph Kool

    Cyanogen fags can go service themselves we don’t need them anymore. There are plenty of other developers out there, but the stock software has become so good that their buggy roms aren’t needed anymore. If you want a bug filled battery hogging rom then cyanogen is for you I guess. Cyanogen developers are nothing but a bunch of lazy beggers always looking for a handout. Go get a real job losers instead of trying to scare people into donating more money.

    • The Calm Critic

      Name me one non-CM AOSP ROM devs that don’t rely on CM kernels/device trees/open features, hell even the whole ROM base? Read changelogs much?

      There is none.

  • agb8369

    Yep, the .01% (notice .01 of a percent) will really intimidate Samsung. Not to mention conjecture based on a device not out yet. Perhaps Samsung likes this, since total cost of tech support is less when people are not flashing custom roms and bricking their devices. For every person that knows what there are doing, there are also those that brick and then complain to the carriers or Samsung that their device is not working.

    I used to flash roms as well, but have not seen a need since the Razr. Still root though.

    • The Calm Critic

      1. That .01% “insignificant” chunk are the ones dedicating themselves to look for exploits, report on those and contribute ideas/fixes.

      2. It takes only .01% of indie + unpaid dev power to sort out 100% of any found official Samsung fws’ flaws and/or bugs.

      3. The same 0.1% aren’t supposed to be responsible for the luddites WHO CHOOSE to root and flash custom ROMs either. No guns were held to anyone’s face when said decisions were made.

      4. If this were supposed to be a “closed” game, maybe Samsung shouldn’t have put out kernel sources in the 1st place?

  • Joseph Kool

    Cyanogen = Donation whores Trying to scare people into making donations.

  • Chris

    There’s a lot of tools in this comment section. Cyanogen is THE top dog. Almost every other dev team uses their base. Their work goes unnoticed and unappreciated by imbeciles like we have posting here. They’ve asked for donations ONCE. You people are ridiculous. #Respecttocmteam

  • Treyhunnid

    nexus FTW

  • Brian S.

    If anyone cares to, fill me in why the GS3 was worth grueling over. I can only image modest advantages in hardware. Also, it would have to be something to make it worth the effort of switching from a GN for me.

  • DmwerdNA

    looks like they are doing this to get a free galaxy s4 donated for them

    • http://iron2000.blogspot.com/ iron2000

      I think they rather have Samsung release their latest Exynos sources for all devices.

  • Thomas Wells

    Yes we can argue that because CM is not (may not) support the S4 that there will be a huge hole in the sales figures for Samsung, however I just don’t see that. My workplace has maybe 15 people that I deal with personally everyday who have S3s ( this doesn’t include about 350 people that I don’t see or have never met) they gripe about the battery life etc… But to a person they have no interest in modifying their phone in any way to change the behaviors of the phones. If most people have problem with their phones they just accept it.