CyanogenMod (CM) founder and lead developer Steve Kondik will be leaving Samsung after 19 months of working with the Korean giant. Samsung hired Kondik in August 2011 to give some mainstream credibility to CyanogenMod. While Kondik said he would be leaving Samsung for other projects, he didn't have very nice things to say about the latest TouchWiz UI on the Galaxy S4 on his way out.

Leaving for better things (Image credit: +Erica Joy)

Leaving for better things (Image credit: +Erica Joy)

Kondik appears to be very impressed with the hardware on the Samsung Galaxy S4. “Spec-wise, this device blows the competition out of the water. There are a number of unique features that have a lot of potential (assuming Samsung is opening up an API for them) such as the touchscreen which can register “hover” events, and an IR blaster. Benchmarks put this device far above the competition (40K on Quadrant CPU) and there should be no reason why it won't run your favorite apps flawlessly,” he wrote in a Google+ post announcing his departure from Samsung.

However, he didn't have many nice things to say about the new TouchWiz on the Galaxy S4, “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. 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 looks like Kondik didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with Samsung on some of the elements employed by TouchWiz, but in response to a comment on the Google+ Galaxy S4 post, he said that he was leaving Samsung “but not because of anything in particular. Samsung was great. Just decided to do something new. Ask me in a couple of months.

The hugely popular CyanogenMod ROMs allow users to run custom firmware on their Android devices. Often, custom ROMs are the only way for users to run newer versions of Android on older hardware, thus extending the life of devices that don’t see an official update. Along the way, CM has added multiple features to Android such as an OpenVPN client, interface theme support and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB tethering.

CyanogenMod developers have not been totally impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and there are rumours that the group might not develop the ROM for the new flagship. However, Kondik made it point to mention that the device should run CM flawlessly thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor that is expected to power 70 percent of the first batch of S4s.

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