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Samsung gift to Cyanogen modders: Free phones

Handset maker's gift of Galaxy S II smartphones is the latest in a series of overtures by phone manufacturers to modder/hacking community.

Eric Mack/CNET

Samsung is apparently looking to co-opt the team of modders behind CyanogenMod. The company sent Galaxy S II smartphones to the four chief developers behind Cyanogen in the mail, free of charge.

Cyanogen is basically a customization of the Android OS that gives users extra functionality like the ability to overclock a phone's CPU, add custom skins, and more.

Cyanogen developer @atinm tweeted earlier this week, apparently after receiving the phone:

W00t! Just received the SGS2 from Samsung so we can work on CyanogenMod for it! You will not hear me bad-mouth Samsung again. :)

CyanogenMod team member Kolja Dummann told Wired.com that the developers had asked the company about getting their hands on the phones after they debuted in Europe--Dummann is based in Germany, other team members are elsewhere, including in the U.S.--and Samsung agreed, sending the phones with a request to get Cyanogen working on the phone.

The move is the latest in a series of overtures by phone manufacturers to the coding/hacking community. HTC recently announced that it would no longer be shipping all of its phones with locked bootloaders. Reaching out to Cyanogen is likely not only about courting the developer community, but also getting ahold of a little of Cyanogen's mojo--despite being supported largely through donations, the mod has hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.

So far, Samsung's gift seems to be winning over at least one developer:

"It looks cleaner, and therefore less problems we hope," tweeted Cyanogen's Atinm about his new Galaxy S II.

Samsung and the Cyanogen modders were not immediately available to respond to CNET's request for comment.