Steve Kondik of Cyanogen: Marshmallow is all our features, next-gen chipsets will be awesome


Steve Kondik needs no introduction, as he is the guy behind the most famous and prolific Android modding project - Cyanogen. Starting with the first Android phone - the T-Mobile G1 - the developer took the early Google efforts, and made them better. He recently sat down for an interview, and spilled some beans on the future of Cyanogen OS, as well as Android phones as a whole.

First off, he started with the fact that Android hadn't been that free-for-all platform from the onset, at least the G1 wasn't very open and hackable. Google, however, left a pretty glaring omission in the code that allowed anything you key in to go to a root shell console, which opened the floodgates for modding and coming out with the first custom Android ROM for the device. On the next landmark Android phone  - the original Motorola DROID - he found another easy exploit, basically a pasted line of code that let him root and bypass security, which even had a comment next to the code saying "bad things can happen here." And they did, much to our user's delight

The rest is history, and, according to Steve Kondik, Android gradually picked up and folded in many of the cool features that the Cyanogen community came up with, like swiping to dismiss notifications, do-not-disturb and so on, to the extent that now Android 6.0 Marshmallow essentially incorporates "all of our features," said the developer. "Some of Google's stuff is really good. Some of it is just OK," he continued, and there is always room for improvement.

The most interesting part of the interview are Steve's forward-looking comments, though, as in the future of the Cyanogen OS undertaking, which will apparently involve a truly flagship device as well, not only midrangers and low-end handsets. In fact, Cyanogen's founder is very pumped about the chipsets coming next year, and waiting to play around with the possibilities they often. This makes us think that the flagship Cyanogen phone that is alluded to in the interview, might very well come with Snapdragon 820. In fact, Steve Kondik mentions that he is using a Snapdragon 801-laden device, as you can still squeeze amazing performance out of it, while Snapdragon 810 has issues with thermal management, so he will apparently just wait it out, and hop on next year's flagship bandwagon. 

To cap it all off, the interview ends on a highly positive note about the future crazy processing technologies, like Zeroth by Qualcomm:

"Zeroth is a cognitive processor, it basically simulates neurons. So you can build some really wild-ass stuff with it. The use cases for this kind of stuff is going to be, like, wild. We're only really scratching the surface of what's possible with these kinds of algorithms, now that there's silicon that can actually help you... Like, you're going to be able to run some of these crazy deep learning algorithms on your phone soon. That really changes the game. That disrupts the cloud."

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24 Comments

1. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Then is there a single feauture in CyanogenMod or OS that wasn't also copied from Android? CyanogenOS is an Android OS rip-off!!

2. deanylev

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 11, 2014

You're an absolute idiot. Cyanogen is built on top of Android OS. You can't copy what you are. Troll.

3. maherk

Posts: 6750; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Well, this guy always act like Cyanogen is bigger than Android, when in fact, if it wasn't for Android, there won't be something called Cyanogen Mod. Their CEO is full of himself, and someone needs to wake him up and bring him back to reality.

10. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea ppl seem to overlook this. Steve too. I know there was a big ROM scene on the old Win Mo, he was probably a part of it. Without the underlying OS ....he wouldnt even be known.

4. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

WTF?!?! Since CyanogenOS is built atop Android, then the so-called added feauters legitimately belongs to Google. Hence the "copied feautures" claims are idiotic!!

5. ph00ny

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 26, 2011

They also copied bunch of features from Samsung too. Specially stylus related features

6. ToastedBacon21

Posts: 47; Member since: Oct 18, 2015

Their so-called added features doesn't belong to Google. It belongs to the community. Its not copying, but simply adopting features. That's what being open-source is all about. Google adopted the features brought in by the community.

7. Retro-touch unregistered

are you just acting stupid or are you really that stupid? Its called open source for a reason, which means anyone can use google source and modify it however they like and it goes both ways. If Google likes a certain feature they can use your source and add their own touches and merge it to AOSP. The use of each others source isn't relevant, its about benefitting the OS and the android ecosystem as a whole.

8. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's not built on top, it's modified from. If it were built on top they're be a lot more compatibility between CM and AOSP. As is stands though, CM today is a buggy mess. It's awful on the Oneplus One I bought.

9. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Right there! CyanogenOS sucks!

12. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Whats funny is back in 2009, 2010 there was big controversy in the ROM community about CyanogenMOD and someone who had supposedly passed off a CyanogenMOD rom as their own. I dont know what the truth was...but in the end their rom was better than CyanogenMODs. Which IMO is kinda what ROM makers do....take existing code, tweak, modify it and say look at what 'I' made. No ROM on Android would be possible without AOSP, Android. I think the big issue was about credit not being given.

13. janno

Posts: 144; Member since: Aug 19, 2014

That's not the point. The point is 95% of CyanogenMod is Google's AOSP and features, and Kondik gets to brag about "Google totally stole our other 5% from us!!" - without seeing any irony in that. When you get 95% of your software from someone else, of course you can focus on the other 5%. That's why all OEMs come with "extra stuff" 6 months later after Google releases its OS. Because they already have the final version, and they have another 6 months to build new stuff. But that wouldn't be possible if they also had to write their own "other 95%" of the OS.

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Google has done this since forever. Even with apps in the Store and OEM features. Kondik speaks out about it but big name folks from Samsung, Moto, HTC, LG, etc dont.... Thats because its a give, take situation. Things OEM's have make it into Android and things Android has sometimes make it into OEM skins. I really dont get what his problem is. But its not anything new....him or whoever represented CyanogenMOD ROMs from 2009 to whenever he stopped was kinda arrogant IMO. Always having a holier than thou attitude.

14. jove39

Posts: 2143; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

I am not hopeful about cyanogen os official launch on S820 device...is there any (remaining) high end cyanogen partner? All of their partners will stick with S620, S415, S425. May be this year cyanogen will launch their own phone!

15. JMartin22

Posts: 2355; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Maybe the ROM flashing mania was good and useful back between 2010-2013, but nowadays official firmware is more stable and feature-rich than ever before. It's not necessary to flash ROMs anymore when customized proprietary software renditions of Android have gotten to the point where they're so deeply integrated and optimized, it doesn't make sense to flash custom OS's when they're more likely than not, going to break features and compatibility and never be truly stable and consistent with performance overtime.

16. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Agreed! +1

17. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I agree. For me using custom ROMs ended in late 2010, 2011. And after ICS launched...it was definitely a done deal.

18. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Maybe with other manufacturers, but for my experience with the S5, Touchwiz was unbearable. It had noticable lag after only a month or two with no major or problematic apps installed. You couldn't make the home button not wake the device, which is a pain in your pocket with the way the phone is designed. For me, Cyanogenmod has alleviated both those biggest issues. I've had the phone with the same ROM installation for a few months now and it's still as fast as SD801 should be. Perhaps Samsung has addressed this with the debloating of TW on the S6. If it has, I won't need CM.

19. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Samsung has come a long way with TW. It's still not perfect, but there is no lag on my Note 5. There's still to much carrier and OEM.bloat, but Package Disabler Pro takes care of that nicely.

20. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Glad to hear it can be removed. S5 was almost 2GB of preinstalled apps that I was never going to use and was apprehensive of which I could remove with TB without losing certain features.

23. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

True. I am a Motorola fan and over the years their skin wound up being almost stock Android. Even when it wasnt it was getting better starting with the Droid X.

21. Amo5500

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 23, 2015

Why all steve turn out to be an *ss h*le? steve jobs, steve balmer, steve(n) elop, steve Kondik

22. Amo5500

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 23, 2015

Hi Cyanogen, I challange you to create a smartphone OS from scratch!!

24. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Cyanogen is not able to. period

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