While Sony Sues Modders, Samsung Sends Them Devices To Mod Faster

from the different-approaches dept

We’ve talked plenty of times about Sony’s long history of trying to block tinkerers and modders, culminating in the company’s absolutely ridiculous lawsuit against Geohot (George Hotz) for jailbreaking the PS3. It appears that Samsung is taking an extremely different approach. Rather than trying to restrict or hinder modders, the company just sent a bunch of free smartphones to some of the top modders:

Four members of the CyanogenMod software team on Monday received Galaxy S II smartphones in the mail, direct from the company at no charge.

?All four of us involved in the porting process for the first Galaxy S received a new phone,? CyanogenMod team member Kolja Dummann told Wired.com in an interview. ?After the [Galaxy S II] launched in Europe, we just asked about getting some of those phones. Samsung agreed.?

The phones came with one simple directive ? get CyanogenMod working on the phone.

Essentially, CyanogenMod replaces the stock operating system on your Android phone with a customized build, letting you make tweaks and adjustments that you wouldn?t have otherwise been able to before. Customizations range from changing visual details ? like slapping a sleek new uniform skins onto the user interface ? to under-the-hood boosts like overclocking the phone?s CPU.

Think about that for a second. Unlike most device makers, who jealously try to lock down the device, Samsung hasn’t just handed over its devices early, but it’s specifically encouraging them to get their replacement/modded OS working on the phone as quickly as possible. Which strategy do you think is likely to create loyalty, win fans, and lead to greater innovation and value for users?

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Companies: samsung, sony

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Comments on “While Sony Sues Modders, Samsung Sends Them Devices To Mod Faster”

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Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Just don’t forget that, for these guys it might be about more than money. It could be recognition, curiosity, love of hobby, opportunity to work with current technology, etc.

I’ve noticed that I have purchased a notable amount of Samsung electronics in the past couple years. If my satisfaction is linked to this sort of open-mindedness, than I’m all for it.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re:

well not for free, for actual profit. Think of how much they can benefit from the goodwill from doing this, not to mention future sales which would result in said profit. If they were going even further they’d provide a field of samsung phones for major 3rd party developers (XDA, cyanogenmod) – instead of having to pay them a salary, give them the phone and let them do it in their spare time.

Sam (profile) says:

Other major Android manufacturers have made steps in the right direction, announcing unlockable bootloaders on future phones, but this is certainly the best manufacturer initiative I’ve seen. As a happy CyanogenMod user, I can only hope more manufacturers put this sort of effort into consumer choice and making available the full capabilities of the OS.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Well, it looks like my next phone provider just stood up. Thanks everyone, we have a winner. Now if I could just get enough memory in the phone (a problem I’ve had all along.)

I’ve been hearing good things about the Galaxy…

Oh, and Sony….you can sit down. I have no intention of ever buying a Sony branded product ever again. The fact that I chose you in the past despite the fact that your competitors were offering a better product for less was a mistake that I am now regretting more than ever.

Just remember, Ericsson is owned by Sony.

CommonSense (profile) says:


I just bought a new LG TV to replace the Samsung that I had had for about 3.5 years. The samsung was failing, and I thought it was too soon for a new LCD TV to crap out, so I did some research and found that Samsung used some questionable capacitors or something around the time I bought it… That had ticked me off, hence the switch, but a move like this is the type of thing that makes me want to support them… maybe they’ll be my next phone (one on Sprint though, I’m giving ATT and Verizon the finger)

Mike42 (profile) says:

Once upon a time

Long ago, another company gave away hardware to developers. The time was 2003, and the company was Microsoft. They gave away free PDA’s with the .NET compact framework built-in. I recieved one, and it bought my loyalty for at least 5 years.

That was 7 years ago. And a different Microsoft. It’s time for Balmer to go, and take his Windows 8 with him.

5 years between OS releases, Steve! 5!

Glaze (profile) says:

Carrier vs. Hardware

Just remember, all of you on AT&T they lock all of their phones so you can’t even install apps not in the Android MP… I’ll be giving the finger to AT&T for that one as soon as my contract is up… Why offer development phones if you can’t even install your own APKs? Bad move AT&T but you’ve seen plenty of posts like that on your own forums and still do nothing about it…

DrMacinyasha (user link) says:

Not the first time

This actually isn’t the first time this has happened. Geeksphone actually sent one of their ZERO phones to a member of the CM team (I forget which, but looking through the commit logs should make it pretty obvious). Because of that, the device actually ships with ClockworkMod Recovery on the device, as well as root access, and CyanogenMod was available for the Zero on release-day.

Lauriel (profile) says:


I have a Samsung Omnia. Nice phone, unfortunately hampered by the fact that I have a Windows OS (not a huge fan, so far). My brother has the Sony Experia, and I have used Eriksons in the past, but not smartphones. Unfortunately, I think Erikson make far better phones. Shame about them being owned by Sony, because I’m avoiding Sony like the plague.

If Samsung are willing to put in the work, like it seems they are doing with their new range, and are willing to take opportunities like this, then that situation will change soon.

I also think that Samsung’s move here is a big poke in the eye to Apple. They’ve basically said “if we have to hand over our phones early anyway, we’ll do it our way and benefit from it.” Given Apple’s notoriously closed system, there is no way Apple will do the same.

Prashanth (profile) says:

Unfortunately, my family is pretty deeply entrenched with Sony, so it’s probably futile for me to ask them to consider something like Samsung (they’ve considered Korean products inferior thanks to crappy Samsung & Hyundai products in the 1980s). That said, when I get around to buying these things, I will definitely be buying from companies like Samsung and HTC, NOT Sony.

Unbranded says:


I am also a big fan of this! Congrats Samsung, you’ve got yourself a mass amount of technologist fans. I also agree with Microsofts methods towards Open Kinect! Is nobody was ever allowed to tamper with technology, we would hit a stand still. Sony, You should feel ashamed!!! I will also be avoiding Sony brands for ever and eternity!

Attila says:

Follow the Money

Sony takes a loss on each PS3 sold, and makes money on software and services; locking down their console to make piracy harder and protect the revenue stream from their online services like Qriocity makes sense to them, I guess.

Samsung doesn’t care what version of Android their handsets run, so long as people buy them. I’m sure they make a handsome profit on each unit sold.

I don’t think anything about this story is particularly surprising.

Deborah says:

Dishonest Hackers

Modifying ur own legally purchased hardware is all well & good in the tech world but publishing “How To” on the internet for any criminal elemant to see shuld not b allowed. Case in point: My MetroPCS phone was hacked about 6mos ago. I knew I had some kind of problem w/the internet. I complained 2 MetroPCS & they sold me a better phone full price! Problems got worse & 5 phones later & changing my phone # twice I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.My calls r monitored,voicemails erased b4 I hear them,texts mags scrambled, settings constantly changing & it gets worse! Bcuz I was naive & would call my bank 2 check account balances they took thousands of dollars. Not 2 mention gained access 2 my email & created identity theft. Metro won’t help bcuz its prepaid. Police won’t help til sum1 is murdered even though my place has been broken in2 several times. Y don’t u guys publish “How To Get Rid Of The Hacker Thats Destroyed Ur Life” Or “How 2 Trace Back”? I can’t even get approved 4 a contracted w/another carrier bcuz of the identity theft.
Welcome 2 my nitemare!

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