CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik parts ways with Samsung, trashes TouchWiz in the process


While Samsung doesn’t always play nice with the independent developers looking to hack their devices, they still recognize talent when they see it. That’s why Steve Kondik, founder of CyanogenMod, was brought in to help put some polish on the company’s Android implementation. Less than two years later Kondik is parting ways with Samsung.

The departure doesn’t come with any prerequisite bad blood between the two parties. Kondik said his decision to leave was based on his desire to “do something new.” That doesn’t mean he didn’t take the opportunity to get a slight jab in at his former employer. Speaking on the Galaxy S4’s TouchWiz implementation, Kondik said, “it feels like it has been sent a few years back in time to the Froyo days.”

Otherwise, Kondik said the GS4 “blows the competition out of the water,” noting that while the overall phone design hasn’t changed much from last year’s model, the new iteration is a much more solid feeling device with plenty of great features built in.

As for where the man ends up, he hasn’t announced any future plans. Perhaps a return to his roots as an indie developer?

[Google+ via Engadget]

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  1. This has nothing to do with the headline

    1. Which part?
      The part where Steve Kondik leaves Samsung? Or the part where he says Touchwiz’s implementation is going backwards?
      ’cause from where I’m standing, that is the headline.

    2. Go home Nick, you’re drunk.

  2. This is the problem with hiring evangelists. They are great to propel community, but unreliable as work force, men of the mood swings. Instead of trying to move the hiring company forward he just agreed to disagree, and left the boat. Look for no disrespect in my words, I’m just saying it wasn’t a smart step to hire him at first place, especially for a company with Asian business model.

    1. Where are you getting all of this info about what Steve did at Samsung?

      1. No doubt he’ll claim to have been a fly on the wall at Steve’s exit interview….

        1. No, I won’t. It’s just too obvious. You don’t have to gather info from the source, just have some brain and common sense, well may be some experience in IT consulting too. If one’s bashing something that he was hired to improve, it usually means he was not allowed to do everything his way and that was the reason why he left.

    2. Or you know maybe touch wiz actually sucks a$$.

      1. I kinda agree. It’s ok on my Note 2, but the UI from the hands on video of the S4 looked horrible. There’s a few good features that would be amazing if you had them on an AOSP based android, but may not be reason enough to stay on touchwiz. I stay on touchwiz because of multi window alone, but with the S4 UI I don’t think I could with that horrendous UI.

  3. that picture… looks like hes just holding the battery cover of a phone. I believe I see his fingers through the camera hole LOL

    1. It looks like maybe he is autographing it?

      1. i guess that would make more sense haha

  4. im hoping he gets back to being an indie developer. working for the big guy isnt all its cracked up to be. IMO samsung screwed up. he isnt the only developer out there but i would bet money he was the reason alot of things got done in their camp.

  5. Lawl is this in anyway related to the rumor about the GS4 not receiving CMod support? Well, that’s a kick in the pants. Tch tch, but no hard feelings though Sammy.

    1. You evidently didn’t read it all:

      “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 :)”

      1. Actually i have. And that quote is nowhere in THIS article and is evidently in one of the links. But it’s fine prescription glasses are getting cheaper these days. Since you like links here’s one for you, which is the rumor I’m referring to. http://phandroid.com/2013/03/19/galaxy-s4-cyanogenmod/

        1. Yes, and you evidently didn’t read that one fully either, since CM released an official denial saying those developers were expressing personal opinions and they don’t make such decisions in advance of a device release.

          1. Once again proving my point. “rumor”. Google the definition of it. And still has nothing to do with what is present in THIS article. The Samsung team said they weren’t going to do it, the update was PR damage control to preempt user outcry about CMod support. The Samsung dev team turned down the project nonetheless, whether or not any other dev takes it up or not, officially or unofficially. My assumption was that it may have something to do with Steve leaving Samsung. Pull your self righteous head out of your arse.

          2. Yeah, I noticed how the first statement came out from the CM team who works on Samsung devices, then next came the official CM statement…. I would take the team who works on the devices more serious then some PR statement.

          3. I’ll pull my head out when you learn to read.

  6. Yawn. Another one with a god complex..

    1. ????

    2. I don’t understand why some people here are bashing him. This is Samsung we’re talking about. You do realize that as soon as they think they can ditch Android, they will. The writings on the wall, why do you think they didn’t even mention Android during they GS4 reveal. If anyone has a god complex here, I think it would be Samsung. Props to Steve for getting out before it gets messy.

      1. The answer is quite simple…jealousy.

      2. I laugh at this Sammy bashing! Sure they will grab their own os if they get a chance. They already have made android better for the average person. It’s not just a skin what they do is its own android. You google fans are just butt hurt Sammy is so good! ツ

        1. Love this Japanese symbol! Gonna use it too :) ツ

  7. I’m yea the whole point of Cyanogen was to give people and option that’s they didn’t have to use skinned android.

  8. Calling out Touchwiz for the regression that it absolutely is is burning bridges? What? I’m pretty sure Steve has enough capital to make an honest and brief criticism of an obviously crappy UI. Trust me, he won’t have any trouble finding work. (for the record, I have a GS3, and I love the hardware, but TouchWiz is an ugly mess.)

    1. Couldn’t have said it any better, Bill.

    2. My Samsung rep brought in a GS4 and it was an amazing phone. Felt very solid and really makes you notice it has changed. The new UI is half brilliant and half terrible. Visually on the homescreen it is very warm and welcoming. Not as electric and over saturated as it used to be. The new lockscreen is this interesting lens flare, looking at the sun, sort of page. But once you get to the settings it is very clunky and just really takes away from the rest of the phone. The notification shade feels very heavy and they really should change up the overall look a bit. It wasn’t a final build and won’t be surprised if a lot of that changes. They still have another month before release and even then will be updating this phone quite a lot.

    3. Your an idiot. Your coming at touchwiz from a select few when its obvious it rules the world right now for millions of users. You are being very close minded about touchwiz

      1. Those other millions of users don’t know about HTC Sense. Now that’s a nice looking skin. I had my HTC G2 running slow just so I can look at Sense. At that time it was bloated and all, but I didn’t care. It looked nice.

  9. lots of spin in that headline. pretty sure he heaped on a ton of praise and only trashed the way they brought back tabbed menus.

  10. never knew he had been working with Samsung. maybe that’s why cyanogenmod hasn’t been the same awesome custom ROM i remember absolutely blowing me away.

    1. Open source and CM don’t pay very well.

      The donations don’t add up to much.

  11. The title for this article isn’t inline with the tone of his post. I guess page views triumph over good content.

  12. Lol that’s what you call trashing as usual over exaggerating…

  13. Lol, the amount of Samsung fanboys lynching Steve Kondik, is f’ing unbelievable, even the pope gets less respect from the church than Samsung from its fanboys. SMH.

  14. Dugh!! Now I can’t decided again. The HTC One or the S4. I need to see like trucklords of reviews on these phones. LoL!!

  15. as a samsung fanboy, i don’t see this as such a horrible thing. while i won’t speculate on any motives or anything it’s obvious, at least from this article, that he really likes the phone itself and just doens’t like the software. I don’t know what the probability would be if he were still working at Samsung, this may be a good opportunity to secure a pretty decent mod.

  16. Whether or not Steve was good for Sammy, I’ll agree with him about TouchWhiz. I can’t stand it, seriously. I use it and feel like I’m thrown back to Froyo, when anything you wanted to do was overly complicated and had three different implementations.

  17. This is so funny, the title of this article looks more like how The Verge also announced it. Steve criticized TouchWiz, but omitting he praised the S4.

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