CyanogenMod Founder Leaves Samsung, Takes Potshots at TouchWiz on Way Out

It's inevitable that all good things eventually come to an end, but who could have predicted that Steve Kondik's stint working for Samsung wouldn't even last two years? You might know Kondik better as "Cyanogen," his online moniker that became a household name in Android rooting communities. He created CyanogenMod, easily the most popular set of third party ROMs for Android, a feat that wasn't lost on Samsung, which hired Kondik in August 2011. When he was hired, he promised to make "Android more awesome." He'll now have to do that outside of the confines of Samsung.

Kondik announced his departure in a Google+ post dedicated to the Galaxy S4. It reads as a sort of mini review of the device, and for the most part, it's filled with praise. He said it feels "quite a bit more solid than the S3," and as far as the specs go, the S4 "blows the competition out of the water." He also touched on benchmarks, saying "there should be no reason why it won't run your favorite apps flawlessly."

Steve "Cyanogen" Kondik

His evaluation wasn't entirely filled with rainbows and cupcakes, however. On the topic of TouchWiz, Samsung's customer user interface (UI) that sits on top of Android, he was much more critical.

"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," Kondik explains. "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. UI performance is average. It's better and worse at the same time, depending on your viewpoint I suppose."

Samsung Galaxy S4

As to whether or not TouchWiz soured his recommendation to upgrade, it didn't. Kondik said the S4 is a "solid device and clear choice" for anyone rocking a Galaxy S II or older, though if you already own a Galaxy S III, "upgrading is probably less urgent (especially if you're on contract)."

Kondik didn't shed much light on his decision to leave Samsung, though he did reveal in the comments section that it was not because of anything in particular, adding that "Samsung was great. Just decided to do something new."