Steve Kondik landed a great gig at Samsung in 2011.
He was a well-regarded Android developer who worked on the CyanogenMod project, which lets users add a greater level of customisation to their phones, so it was natural for Samsung to poach him away.
A year and a half later, Kondik has left his job at Samsung, but not before sharing some thoughts on the Galaxy S4 on his Google+ page.
Overall, Kondik says the Galaxy S4 is a good phone, but he criticises Samsung’s “TouchWiz” interface that modifies Google’s basic Android layout.
Here’s what Kondik wrote:
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’s better and worse at the same time, depending on your viewpoint I suppose.
He went on to criticise some other features on the Galaxy S4, including the eye-tracking scrolling technology:
Some of the new features are very useful like the “hover” preview where you can just point at an email message without touching the screen and it shows a preview of the message. The multi-window feature is present here, and is nice to have around when you need it. The camera app has seen some significant upgrades too, with live previews of the postprocessing effects and a new UI. My least favourite new feature is “Smart Scroll” which is supposed to scroll based on face detection + tilt, but it mostly serves to anger me into disabling it.
Kondik does say you should buy the Galaxy S4 if you want to upgrade from the Galaxy S II, but says it’s “less urgent” to upgrade if you have the Galaxy S III.
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