Users on XDA-developers report that their non-Samsung smart covers have stopped working after they updated their Note 3 units to Android 4.4.
Back in October, Korean media reported that Samsung was planning to fit some of its accessories with authentication chips that would prevent non-authorized accessories from working. These accessories included smart covers and wireless chargers, and the Note 3 was said to be the first device with this security measure in place. Ostensibly, Samsung’s justification for the move was to reduce the usage of shoddy accessories and cut down on the number of accidents involving unauthorized chargers. But, as ETNews reported at the time, such a move would let Samsung milk more profits from its accessory business, at a time when smartphone growth is tapering off.
We haven’t heard anything about the issue since then, but now that Samsung began to update the Note 3 to Android 4.4 KitKat, some users are reporting problems with their Note 3 covers. Non-Samsung smart covers no longer work since the update, including covers from brands like Spigen. People on several XDA threads posted about the issue: 1, 2, 3, 4
People are understandably spiffed, especially since these covers can be quite costly and their S-View “smart” feature is the main selling point. For instance, this Galaxy Note 3 Case Slim Armor View from Spigen currently goes for $60. It’s not clear yet if other types of accessories are affected.
There are ways around the limitation: one user simply hacked a chip from an original S View cover and replaced the chip found on his Spigen case. There’s also a software-based workaround that involves installing Xposed Framework and a special module. But users should not have to hack their devices to make them work.
This is a pretty serious issue and the fact that neither Samsung nor Spigen were transparent about the issue doesn’t help. We have contacted Samsung to confirm the story and we’ll update the post if we hear anything back. We’ve also contacted Spigen, as well as Otterbox and some other major accessory makers for their views on the issue.
Update: We’ve heard back from Spigen:
In regards to Android KitKat, Spigen will continue to support Galaxy devices and their smart functions. We’re currently looking into the issue and will have a more detailed plan of action by next week.
Have you encountered any problems with accessories on your Note 3?