On the morning after the Oppo N1 launch, Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik was surrounded by several Oppo ambassadors and tech writers at a hotel lounge in Beijing. It’s a far cry from where he began: toying with Android ROMs out of “boredom” about five years ago.
“When I started this thing, I had, like, no idea that people would actually care,” said Kondik, the creator of CyanogenMod. “I was kind of watching out to see who was going to bring Linux to the first mobile device, in a way that it didn’t absolutely suck.”
In the end, it was Android that stood out with its open-source development, and Kondik saw the potential of adding his own enhancements to devices running on this OS. By day, the Seattle-based developer was a lead engineer at a bioinformatics startup in Pittsburgh; but during his free time, he worked on what later became CyanogenMod for the legendary T-Mobile G1, the world’s first commercial Android device. And of course, he bought it on the day it came out.