CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik started out a Google+ post this morning with this, “I got to spend some quality time with the S4 (final hardware) before I left Samsung.” (emphasis added) The post contained his thoughts on the new Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone and what he sees as some strengths and weaknesses. Needless to say, the subtle announcement that he had left his position with Samsung has generated as much interest, if not more, than his thoughts on the Galaxy S 4. In a follow-up comment to the original post, Kondik indicates he thought Samsung was a “great” place to work, but he just decided he was interested in trying something new.
With regard to the Galaxy S 4, Kondik’s opinion seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. He praises the hardware of the Galaxy S 4, indicating “this device blows the competition out of the water.” A couple unique features he specifically mentions are the “hover”-aware touchscreen and the IR blaster. Kondik also mentions the GPS circuitry seems to be much better than in past devices. On the downside, he thinks Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is a bit of step back despite Samsung’s attempt to clean it up a bit and give it a lighter look. This perception may be attributed to a return to a fully tabbed UI and extensive use of popup windows.
Kondik indicates the Samsung Hubs are featured more prominently, possibly as part of an effort to distinguish Samsung from the rest of the Android ecosystem. Kondik thinks anyone upgrading from a Galaxy S II will be more than pleased. While Galaxy S III owners will probably like the device as well, though the justification for an immediate upgrade is not as compelling.