Samsung issued an official statement on the alleged broken compatibility between third-party accessories and the Note 3, denying that the KitKat update caused the issue.
Yesterday, reports emerged on XDA-Developers about some smart covers for the Galaxy Note 3 losing their smart features after users applied the Android 4.4 KitKat update to their devices. The problem seemed to be related to Samsung’s rumored decision to use authorization chips in accessories to ensure that only official products work with the Note 3 and possibly other devices.
Now both Samsung and Spigen, the maker of the smart cover that some users on XDA complained it stopped working, have issued statements.
Starting with Spigen, the accessory maker acknowledged the existence of a problem, but did not confirm or deny that the issue was indeed caused by an update from Samsung. Here’s the word we got 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.
As for Samsung, the conglomerate’s German unit stated the following to AllAboutSamsung.de (translated):
Statement on the use of third-party accessories To ensure a pleasant and smooth user experience with Samsung products for our customers, we recommend that only original accessories from Samsung be used. Of course, customers can continue to rely on third-party accessories. The full functionality of our devices and accessories, however, can only be ensured with genuine Samsung components, since only in this way it is ensured that equipment and accessories are perfectly matched. A correlation between the Android version 4.4 and the supposed incompatibility of third-party accessories does not exist.
The answer is interesting through its wording – Samsung seems to admit that it’s restricting “full functionality” to products containing “genuine Samsung components”, but denies that the Android 4.4 update broke compatibility, though it’s clear from users’ comments on XDA that the problems began after they updated their devices.
While Samsung denies it broke functionality on purpose, XDA-Developer MohammadAG, who created an Xposed module to enable non-Samsung smart covers, says that the update contains code that specifically checks for the type of cover, and disables S View functionality if the case is not official.
For now, we recommend holding off on purchasing non-Samsung smart accessories for your Note 3, until the situation fully clarifies. If you want to go ahead anyway or if you already have a third-party cover that doesn’t work, you can try MohammadAG’s solution, but know you will need a rooted device and a bit of tinkering.