Launched in late May, the Galaxy S3 is now available from all Big Four carriers in the U.S, with regional operators including U.S. Cellular and C Spire scheduled to get the handset soon. What’s particular for the American launch is that two of the Big Four mobile operators have already issued some important Galaxy S3 updates that, in addition to bringing some fixes and improvements, also happen to dumb down the Search feature of the phone.
The Verge got a statement from Samsung on the matter and it appears that it’s the company’s doing. Just as we suspected, the South Korean Android maker is taking preemptive measures against another potential Galaxy S3 injunction request from Apple, after the latter obtained two such preliminary verdicts in its patent-based U.S. lawsuit against Samsung:
Samsung has updated the software for the Galaxy S III as a precautionary measure to ensure that U.S. consumers may enjoy using our innovative products without interruption.
One of the two injunctions Apple obtained in the U.S., even though stayed on the second appeal, affected the Galaxy Nexus and was based on an Apple patent describing a “unified search” technology, which is currently used by various mobile devices. The Galaxy Nexus made use of that technology – the Google Search app displayed local results (stuff on the phone) and web results, when the user performed a search – and that’s one of the things that got it into temporary trouble.
Google partnered up with Samsung against Apple, and an updated Search app was developed, one that only shows web-based results – or the dumbed down Search version. The same limited feature is now found on AT&T’s and Sprint’s Galaxy S3 versions, and similar updates could come to all American Galaxy S3 units.