updated 06:59 am EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
Samsung issues so-called stability update that deletes functionality
Samsung has taken steps to avoid a potential ban on the sale of the Galaxy S III following up its software patch for US models with a similar patch for international unlocked versions of its flagship handset. Although described as a "stability update" by the Korean tech giant, it removes the local on-device search function that is a feature of the Google-developed Android OS. It is the same type of patch that Google and Samsung issued for the Galaxy Nexus in order to help it avoid a possible sales injunction.
Samsung seems to have preemptively taken the measure to stop Apple initiating legal action in other key markets including the UK that could lead to a suspension of sales. With Samsung recently reporting that it has already passed the 10 million Galaxy S IIIs sold milestone, any type of injunction would be extremely costly for the company. It also suggests that the company feels that it would find it very hard to defend itself against the charge of patent infringement in this particular instance.
It is not the first time that the Android operating system has been modified in response to legal challenges by Apple. Other notable instances of Android modifications include the way in the which Android devices now implement slide to unlock, as well as the removal of the bouncing scroll UI effect. Samsung has also been forced to redesign hardware in order to avoid sales injunctions in countries including Germany.
The hobbling of the universal search function is perhaps the most significant functional change to the way Android operates so far suggesting that Apple's legal strategy is working. While it may or may not affect all users who are now only delivered search results from the web, the way in which the functionality is being removed without apparent notification may upset users more so. [via Android Central]