Hot on the heels of Google announcing that they’re going to spend $12.5 billion on acquiring Motorola Mobility, Samsung has just picked up one of, if not the, most knowledge minds in the Android community: Steve Kondik, better known as the guy behind CyanogenMod. The work that he and his contributors have done on Google’s mobile operating system spans from the addition of FLAC support to the bundled music player, to a totally redone notification menu. What exactly is Steve going to do at Samsung? We’re hoping he’ll give the team who developed TouchWIZ a good sit down and explain to them that their funky icons need to get trashed, that and convince Samsung that future Android devices need to ship unlocked so people can throw on whatever custom ROM they wish to use. Realistically speaking, Steve will likely be put in a position to oversee the management of software updates to Samsung’s growing portfolio of Android smartphones.
Back to the Google Motorola deal, if our favorite search engine company actually decides to start making their own mobile phones, then folks like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Sony Ericsson, will need to work even harder on differentiating themselves. That’s both a good and a bad thing since Android is likely to get even more fragmented, but at the same time we’ll finally start seeing companies taking risks with their user experiences. Of course Android’s future isn’t exactly certain, and hardware vendors are probably jamming Microsoft’s phone lines right now, but we remain hopeful that because Samsung hired a guy like Steve, they see Android as something that has a lot of life left in it, despite the fact that it’s an operating system made by a company who also now competes with them on hardware. After all, Samsung competes with Apple, yet also makes several key components that they use in their products.