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Samsung hires CyanogenMod hacker

Samsung appears to be looking into the possibility of tweaking Android to make its smartphones even more tempting to buyers, hiring famed modder Steve 'Cyanogen' Kondik to help out.

According to an announcement on Kondik's Facebook profile, the modder - most well known for his CyanogenMod series of customised firmware images which add new features and capabilities to smartphone handsets - now claims to be employed as a software engineer for Samsung's mobile arm.

In a note to his fans, Kondik reassured CyanogenMod users that Samsung wasn't forcing him to stop his modding ways, explaining that his 'side project' "is not affiliated in any way with my employer."

CyanogenMod is one of the most popular third-party modifications for Google's Android mobile platform, bringing Google's 'Gingerbread' build to devices that manufacturers have long since abandoned on earlier releases.

Even those who already have access to Gingerbread choose to upgrade, thanks to an updated Linux kernel featuring CFS support, a handy reboot menu, a customised app launcher, support for OpenVPN tunnels, and various other enhancements which are not part of a standard Gingerbread installation.

Samsung's hiring of Kondik suggests that the company is looking to further customise its Android handsets to distinguish them in a rapidly crowding marketplace. The company already ships a customised user interface, dubbed TouchWiz, along with a few tweaks that other Android handsets lack, and with Kondik on board should be well on its way to integrating many of CyanogenMod's tweaks into its standard firmware.