Cyanogen has been installed on half a million devices

While some device vendors are stockpiling patents, others are hunting down talent, as competition in the mobile handset space heats up. It was revealed this week that Samsung Mobile has hired one of the homebrew market’s most notorious and successful Android hackers, Steve ‘Cyanogen’ Kondik.

Kondik is best known as the creator of the CyanogenMod for Android, an after market customised firmware bringing new features and functionality to the Android platform.

There’s no information yet on whether Samsung is interested in CyanogenMod, or more in Kondik himself, but the programmer and hacker has said the move will allow him to use his talents in “the real world,” while development of CyanogenMod continues as usual.

The Cyanogen firmware caters to more than 40 different Android devices and brings such functionality as native theming, Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), an OpenVPN client, USB tethering, and claims increased performance and reliability over official firmware releases. Kondik has on occasion received input from Google on the development of the platform and as of mid-July it had been downloaded and installed on more than half a million devices.

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