Samsung disables universal search on Galaxy S III devices in US

12 Jul 2012

Samsung is issuing a system update to its Galaxy S III smartphones that will disable the universal search function in what is being judged as a pre-emptive approach to avoid a US sales ban.

Universal search allows Samsung smartphone users to search the web and the device from a single search bar, displaying results from their apps, contacts and other data, as well as Google web search results.

“The new software update does disable the universal search function on the Galaxy S III,” said a spokesperson for Sprint, a US mobile operator, to Phone Scoop.

The function being disabled lies at the centre of a patent dispute between Samsung and Apple, and the latter has already succeeded in securing a block on sales of the Galaxy Nexus ahead of the trial date.

Google and Samsung have since begun working on a software patch to remove this feature from the Galaxy Nexus and the ban has been temporarily overturned on appeal.

A pre-emptive move by Samsung

Seeing as the Galaxy S III is Samsung’s latest flagship phone, it seems the company does not want to risk these devices being pulled from the US market and the update pre-empts this by removing the allegedly infringing software.

Only Sprint customers in the US have been affected thus far, but the company spokesperson assures that the move came from Samsung, so this may be rolled out to other customers down the line.

However, Irish Galaxy S III owners need not worry as this update applies to the US market only.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.