Update: after a bit more research, it appears that CyanogenMod has made no decision to discontinue support and other maintainers for the S III have plans to continue. This is only reflective of Team Hacksung.
Update #2: CyanogenMod does not set expectations for upcoming devices. In a short posting, CyanogenMod’s Google+ page, they announce that they have no plans one way or the other. Original article follows.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 appears to be facing some more problems, as Team Hacksung has evidently decided to pass on developing and maintaining an official CyanogenMod ROM distribution for the device.
Team Hacksung is the current CyanogenMod maintainer of the Galaxy S III and various other Samsung devices. And while an official port may not be in the works, there will most likely be individual developers who will work to bring a fully functioning CM to the device.
Currently Hacksung’s complaints and refusal to continue CM work on the Samsung Galaxy line focus on Samsung’s GPL noncompliance, undocumented proprietary device drivers, nonworking source releases. Presumably, these problems from the Galaxy S III will just carry over to the Galaxy S4.
It’s unclear whether or not a device this news will have any effect on sales or other development. There is also nothing that states another person or team won’t rise and become the official development team of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
However, maybe this will serve as a wake up call to Samsung and other mobile manufacturers (I’m looking at you, HTC); namely, doing the bare minimum to stay somewhat GPL compliant has its repercussions, but probably not very large ones in this instance. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is virtually assured a top three spot this year, along with the HTC One and Apple’s iPhone 5, unless something drastic happens, so chances are Samsung is not particularly inclined to do anything differently.
Is the Samsung Galaxy S4 stock really that bad?
While there’s nothing particularly horrible about a device that is stock, and this stock actually looks pretty cool, you are still locked into a cycle of obsolescence when the manufacturer stops supporting the device. This is usually at about a year into release, as the next big thing appears on the horizon. There are only so many tweaks and mods one can do to a stock ROM before they’re all done.
One of my favorite examples of a device that’s managed to break the cycle is the original HTC EVO 4G, which over a year after discontinuation continues to receive updates and the most current CyanogenMod releases, whether official or unofficial. While not having official CM support isn’t a horrible thing, it is something to consider when planning to purchase a phone. Other developers will probably run into the same problems accessing the various devices when the next Android operating system comes out, and Samsung or your carrier isn’t pushing updates any more.