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Some Samsung CyanogenMod Devs Skipping the Galaxy S4, Will Someone Else Develop an AOSP ROM?

GALAXY S4 Product Image (6)

Early this morning, a CyanogenMod maintainer that works on some of the Samsung devices took to XDA to respond to the question of whether or not the Galaxy S4 would be seeing any development. XpLoDWilD said that no one on Team Hacksung plans to buy it or develop for it, citing the upcoming phone to be a “pain to maintain.” The CyanogenMod team as a whole has responded officially since then, but who will develop AOSP for this phone?

After the understandable backlash against the comments this morning, CyanogenMod took to their Google+ page to calm people’s fears:

Let’s start with the simplest form of this: CyanogenMod does not pre-announce support or lack of support for devices. Ever…. 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.

That sounds a little bit better, but the earlier comments on XDA made it pretty clear that specific developers were not planning on buying this phone. Having to develop for an Exynos processor and a Qualcomm processor will be tough, considering that Samsung doesn’t like to release source information for their chips. However, it’s pretty likely that if those developers won’t step up, someone will. CM has been rolling for a long time now and the S4 most likely won’t be left out.

Don’t expect to hear more on this topic until the S4 launches, CM will let us know what’s happening at that point.

Via: Android Central | XDA | +CyanogenMod

  • Straylight

    I plan on buying a SG5, will there be support??? WILL THERE???

  • DanSan

    just sounds like a bunch of cry babies to me over at TH. just develop the phone and shut up. they’re just throwing a fit like 5 year old girl at a toy store but once they start playing with the phone and doing it they will shut up.

  • Akashshr

    Burn Samsung SiV, Die Samsung

  • bananatroll

    mowing through line after line of the excess ui, is, and bloat ware we know as touchwiz would make any Dev want to tear their hair out not once but three times a year for every major carrier… After all, according to most Galaxy Phone buyers, they love touch wiz, and the cheap ass slave labor produced plastic housing that holds it and all its delicious patent infringing parts together!

  • michael centeno

    they probably cant stand the plastic cheap toy sight of the gs4 its hideous.

    • r0lct

      u mad, bro?

  • Ryan Christoper

    look here lol someone has cm on his test phone i guess so https://plus.google.com/103583939320326217147/posts/4xRCtRGq5Qe

  • wm snyder

    flash new rom f

    • Tim242


  • JWellington

    As someone who tried porting CM10 to the N7105 Note 2’s, I can attest to how much a pain it is working with Exynos-based devices; you have to reverse engineer so many things due to lack of documentation. It’s an absolute nightmare, so I can’t blame these guys at all.

  • wm snyder

    so if you root this leaves you with……will they…..or not

  • Matt

    Why is the Galaxy S4 being released with either a Snapdragon or Exynos? I know for the GS3 it was because the previous Snapdragons had LTE support built-in but the current Snapdragon 600 doesn’t have LTE and neither does Exynos. So what’s the reason this time?

    • Yea, I’ve been wondering the same thing, but haven’t seen any clarity on the issue.

    • Jojo

      I’d like to know the reason this time too. The S4 is supposed to use a 1.9 GHz Snapdragon which looks like the 600 but according to Qualcomm’s site the Snapdgraon 600 doesn’t have any modem at all. No voice, 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G. Nothing.

      • Paul K.

        Whatever Samsung’s reason is now, it must be worth it since the S4 really is 2 separate phones that needs to be developed and supported to have identical interfaces to the user even if the internal hardware and software differ.

        It may share some components but that’s how it is for most smartphones from the same company within some period. The Droid Razr and Droid 4 probably have more in common than the 2 S4’s.

    • The Exynos processor is going to be available in non-North America markets. This has to do with proper LTE support here from my understanding.

      • Jon H.

        What exactly does proper LTE support mean? The Snapdragon 600 doesn’t have any modem let alone an LTE one so a separate baseband chip needs to be used in either case. Are you saying the standalone baseband chips compatible with US LTE networks aren’t compatible with networks in other countries?

        • Certain chips don’t play nice with LTE. It’s the reason that the Bionic got scrapped and reworked and massively delayed a couple years ago because, among other issues, Tegra 2 didn’t play nice with LTE. The Qualcomm radio chipsets pairing with the Snapdragon 600 likely work better than the Exynos.

    • polioman

      I might be mistaken, but I believe in the US, Qualcomm has enough patents (only valid in the US) that licensing the Exynos for use in the states would be more expensive than using the Snapdragon. The patents being valid only in the US, they chose to use Exynos in the rest of the world.

      • Jon H.

        The licensing fees are expensive enough to warrant the simultaneous development costs of essentially 2 flagship phones? I’m not sure how much code can be shared.

      • r0lct

        I guess they don’t mind paying them for the Note phone and tablets? The Chromebooks?

  • Fattie McDoogles

    Cyanogen works for Samsung! Why is this even an issue?!?!

    • Steven02

      That doesn’t mean he can unilaterally take code from Samsung and include it or distribute it to the public. The problem has been a lack of support from Samsung. If decided to release anything, he would lose his job and be party to a lawsuit.

      • Fattie McDoogles

        Makes sense, however, what doesn’t make sense is why hire him and let him continue his work with CyanogenMod and not give him the tools he needs to make it work? I mean it seemed like they hired him because of the work he was doing with CyanogenMod.

        • Pedro

          He was likely hired because of his abilities shown during his CM days.

          As a software engineer, your resume is NOT what you submit to a company. It’s what’s published on github.

          Just because he had the impressive resume doesn’t mean that Sammy wants to him to start publishing IP. He was hired for a reason. He’s employed for another.


    • wm snyder

      i remember reading this but it never explain what his job really was can anybody enlighten me

  • If you want AOSP, then Nexus is really your best bet… I’m sure AOSP will find it’s way to the S4 eventually (and probably via CM) but why wait when AOSP goodness can be yours today with a Nexus… 🙂

  • ddevito

    Touchwiz and gimmicky crapware no one needs or wants.

    No thanks

  • Mike

    AOKP over CM all day. Who cares?

    • Joey

      Mike does not care. Not one bit.

      • Mike


    • Fattie McDoogles

      AOKP is based off of CM. They had a huge falling out on G+ over that a year or so ago.

    • Big_EZ

      Who cares? Idk, but I do know who should care, anyone who runs AOKP since it’s based on CM. I don’t run CM either, but the roms I do run (AOKP, Carbon) are based on CM.

    • Tim242

      AOKP is 90% CM. That’s why.

  • schoat333

    IMO, if they can get jelly bean to run on the fascinate, the GS4 should be no problem.

  • joejoe5709

    Just another reason to wait for a Nexus. Even if the phone isn’t as fast, the dev community makes it great.

    • angermeans

      I would argue based on my experience that even with a theoretically slower processor that the Nexus 4 will still be faster and more fluid than the GS4 running TouchWiz that is chalked full of lackluster and gimmicky software that’s geared to attract the average consumer. You can call the GS4 an Android phone, but TouchWiz has become about as far as it can go from being the Android we have all come to love and know and it looks like that trend will continue untl Samsung either drops Android or codes over it so much that it is unrecognizable. HTC seems to always get the flack for their skin, but Samsung TouchWiz still looks like it runs on top of Gingerbread and is much more bloated than any build of Sense ever was.

  • bromaier

    “Having to develop for an Exynos processor and a Qualcomm processor will be tough, considering that Samsung doesn’t like to release source information for their chips.”

    Uh, last I checked, the S3 has variations using Exynos and Qualcomm chips, so I don’t really get the problem there.

    • The quote from the devs actually explains this. The issue is that Samsung isn’t providing updated code for the different variants, and that they’ve learned from their bad experiences with the gs3 and are thus opting out:

      “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.”

      These comments are coming from the TeamHacksung folks, and not from CM proper. CM is saying that the actual level of support remains to be seen.

      • bromaier

        Fair enough.

    • angermeans

      have you ran any of the CM builds on any Samsung device? It is not the best experience around. Still, better than TouchWiz though.

      • r0lct

        Well then you must not rely on your phone, certainly not for work. I’ll take TW based ROM with no bugs rather than a AOSP rom that’s buggy any day.

        What I rather have is a Nexus on Verizon, but until then I’m quite happy with the TW rom on my Note 2.

      • bromaier

        GNex, but that doesn’t really count. At the end of the day though, they’ll probably make it work.

  • zepfloyd

    I have a suspicion they are not going to pass on what will likely be the most popular Android phone of the year…

    • KleenDroid

      This statement makes me sad. I sure wish a Nexus device would take that title.

      • zepfloyd

        It would be nice…is Google going spend 400M on marketing?

        • Austin Warren

          They need marketing and a phone that appeals to everyone.

          • zepfloyd

            Not really, the Nexus mostly certainly can appeal to everyone already. It simply needs widespread availability and marketing.

          • Austin Warren

            It needs the same features as other phones as well. I would have bought a Nexus 4 but the Note 2 was much more appealing with a bigger battery and other features.

          • zepfloyd

            ….I can see I’ve been trolled.

          • Austin Warren

            No. I’m not. I decided on upgrade instead of move to T mobile. I see the Nexus 4 is a great phone but I’d rather wait for it to have the same features as other ones.

          • Tim242

            I’d rather they stay gimmick and bloatware free.

          • bananatroll

            I’d rather Verizon get a nexus device period! … That isn’t made by the largest patent infringement tech company in the world that is.

          • Tim242

            I finally decided to order a Nexus 4. I will prob just use it for a WiFi only device. Maybe one day, another Nexus will be Verizon compatible. Until then, I’ll only use the Verizon phone when needed, and maintain that unlimited data. I will use the Nexus for most of my uses.

          • Ian Dunn

            Everyone always picks on that guy…Just on observation. Personally I can agree with him, Not specifically for the note 2 but I had a galaxy nexus and I couldn’t stand the battery life and the music player was not good quality. I got an Incredible 4G which everyone seems to hate, but i get all day battery life, good quality sounding music, an SD slot and a phone I could hold with one hand. It is so good I don’t want to rom it. (The first phone i’ve ever had that I haven’t wanted to even root). Just because it isn’t stock AOSP with updates every two months and a 5″ screen doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to someone.

          • zepfloyd

            He went back and edited…his comment was simply the 1st sentence, “It needs the same features as other phones as well. ” which seemed very trollish at the time, so he tried to soften it or something.

          • r0lct

            The Note 2 most definitely does not appeal to everyone with it’s large size, and that’s coming from a happy Note 2 owner.

        • kg215

          Marketing doesn’t matter when it comes to the Nexus. There are only so few of us that are the best of the best and want to enjoy pure AOSP or flash custom roms/kernels. Enjoy the exclusivity.

          • zepfloyd

            Pretty sure Google disagrees with you there. They HAVE done some decent marketing behind the Nexus, and it shows, it’s done rather well outside the crowd the would otherwise clamor for a Nexus phone. Google needs to translate that to how they approach the phone, they probably will when they get Moto up to speed.

          • angermeans

            I agree the Nexus 7 and more recent the new Nexus 10 ads have been absolutely excellent. They do an excellent job in showcasing their products. I was and continue to be very impressed with this new Google that creates much better software and even ads (among the other many things that we all have come to love from Google that really dont need to be named).

      • angermeans

        I would rather it didn’t. Every Nexus device I’ve owned (except the Nexus 7) has been a device I’ve never seen in public (I saw a Nexus S once and a Galaxy Nexus once). Us geeks need something that the mainstream doesn’t use don’t we?

        • Droidzilla

          That and the Nexus is supposed to be a dev showcase for android. Were it to be the mainstream phone, it would be more difficult for Google to use it as a sort of soak testbed.

        • Alexh01

          I’ve seen a lot of Galaxy Nexus here in Mexico, mostly at the airport. I think they are very cheap now on the main mexican carrier.

  • BIG CAT #7

    I was considering not getting the S4 and instead going with the Note II. Now that I read this I am leaning that way for sure.

  • puffinnugz

    Pretty sure they said the same about the S3 and Note 2, as well.

    • Tim242

      Yes, and still no working GPS on the Note II, and a lot more jankiness.

  • TheWenger

    To my knowledge, the source code and all that business is released for the Exynos used in the Nexus 10.

  • Good thing I’m still rocking that Galaxy S III still. Now if we could just get them to polish and refine the builds for it. 🙂

    • That’s why Team HackSung has initially refused to develop for the S4 and the S3 has no M# builds. The camera module firmware has not been released by Samsung, and TH doesn’t want to take the time to create one from scratch. Also, the Exynos source is late and incomplete.
      That said, Cyanogen himself has already stated that he will be working on the device, so I’m sure he’ll be able to find plenty of help.

      • Fattie McDoogles

        And seeing how he works for Samsung… I don’t foresee this being a problem

  • sc0rch3d

    Oh c’mon DL….CM is not the only source of stable ROMs. 🙂 Someone will eventually crack it…especially if it sells anything close to popularity of the S2 and S3. I know that a lot of ROMs are derived/kanged from CM, but there’s a LOT of desperate people living in basements with nothing better to do. lol.

    • Butters619

      Almost every AOSP ROM is built off of CM, so this would be a pretty big hit to AOSP ROMs. Of course there will still be TW based ROMs.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      “Oh c’mon DL….CM is not the only source of stable ROMs” that’s like saying there are other places to go besides Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. All of the ROM’s you are gonna name as “stable” are all build using CM code. So this actually is a pretty big deal. However, I don’t honestly believe they it won’t be supported by CM. Too big a phone to not be supported. It just won’t be supported by those devs.

    • Steven02

      The CM roms for the S3 have pretty buggy. Popularity won’t necessarily fix that. They need help from Samsung.

      • kane

        Things don’t get perfect over night and Google’s code isn’t either. Ever time they put out new source devs get more bugs to iron out and often regression. I’m on AOKP mr1 build 5 its gotten pretty mature

    • kixofmyg0t

      It’s not about “cracking” it. You can have a unlocked bootloader and if you don’t have sources, libs and people dedicated to working on the device you won’t see much support.

      I see this as a huge win for HTC and Motorola actually.

      • michael arazan

        Not to mention this would be doing 4 times the work to build a rom for free. Maybe they should post a Kickstarter to see if anyone would want and get some money for their time on this one being really challenging

  • Tirionfive

    Sure hope this isn’t the case. Team hacksung tends to be the drivers for many of the Galaxy devices.

    • JetBlue

      Well when all of them have vowed to not buy the S4 so somebody else will have to step up