Samsung, Spigen comment on smart cover incompatibility issue

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 23, 2014

samsung-galaxy-note-3-cover-accessories-aa-9 small

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:

[quote qtext=”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. ” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

As for Samsung, the conglomerate’s German unit stated the following to (translated):

[quote qtext=”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.” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

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.

MohammadAG_Xposed-SViewALLTheCovers · GitHub 19 001215

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.


  • Dimitar Gospodinov

    all this stuff that is populated is fot the size of the window and does it match the S-View requirements…There is no check if the cover is samsung or not…it is quite logical: if (there is a window on the cover) { turn on S-View else } else { do not }
    if (the cover has a Qi charger) { allow wireless charging } else { don’t } etc. etc..

    • You can see in the picture it says “cover type is 2 for third-party cases”. It’s set to ignore non-Samsung cases.

      • Dimitar Gospodinov

        can you give me the source of the screenshot…please
        NEVERMIND I saw it sorry!

      • Dimitar Gospodinov

        It is interesting to see the old code tho…just for comparison…are there any other ID’s or any othe algorithm for identifying..

      • Blowntoaster

        so how does it know when the Cover is a Authentic Samsung cover or not? is there some way of identifying the covers, via a chip or by the size of the window, shape/color/ design/method of attaching the cover etc…?

        • There’s an authentication chip inside the original covers.

          • Victor_Creed

            This pretty much says it all, what other reason would they have for putting this in the case?

  • MasterMuffin

    Samsung doing shady stuff again. Why don’t they just admit that they did it on purpose

    • Jayfeather787

      Because their case costs twice as much, if not more, than a third party one that does the same thing.

      • G Mohal

        FYI the original Samsung s view case for note 3 costs same as spigen case i.e $55. atleast in Canada

    • jack


    • On a Clear Day

      It all depends on their intentions. If the purpose of the code that checks to see if a third party case is being used simply helps them with their marketing analysis – no harm, no foul – save to your privacy if that should be a big issue for you. To which, Samsung could reply (at least if I were Samsung) “It is not our desire in anyway to intrude upon your privacy or enjoyment of our products, but it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to assure all users an enjoyable experience. Thus, our knowing if someone is using a third party accessory, if said accessory should – even with the best design and intentions – end up causing a failure, that our knowing about could enable us to mitigate or warn other users about – well, then, you see, we are practically forced because of this to make sure we know what you are using!” LOL

      And the world continues to go round and round.

      • MasterMuffin

        Nah unlikely but they should hire you to write these public statements :D

  • Bradley Uffner

    Of course it technically wasn’t KitKat that broke the covers. It was one of Samsung’s system 3rd party applications included in the update that broke it. But that application isn’t officially part of KitKat.

    • It maybe Spigen needs to update with 4.4.

      • CG Nobles

        Or just create an app…and don’t worry about samsungs crappy ui

  • I am definitely buying the ‘Spigen slim armor’ for my Note3. I’m just waiting if I can get it locally before I go to online shopping option.

  • districtjack

    I haven’t trusted large corporations for years now because they are sociopathic. When one of them actually gets caught screwing their customers, they deserve the extra helping of feces flinging that comes their way.

  • Perry Kahai, Ph.D.

    After having lost millions to Apple over patent disputes, Samsung thinks that they can recoup their losses by doing this! Like AT&T used to tell people in the 60s and 70s . . . you have to buy our phones if you want a phone connection! Wonder what happened to that (sarcasm!)? Next time, I know I won’t be buying Samsung phones again!

    • DMario

      That, of course, is false. AT&T never did that in the 60s and 70s. Technically, you did not even own the phone. You leased it from AT&T. This way they could prevent all non-ATT devices from connecting to their land-lines. Even sneakier, eh?

      • Perry Kahai, Ph.D.

        I stand corrected . . . yes, customers leased their phones from AT&T. But, if we turn our attention back to Samsung, we see that it is mandating that you buy their products to use all features of the product, thereby “preventing” consumers from buying aftermarket cases. Though I used AT&T’s behavior as an example, albeit using “false” information, my question still is: is Samsung’s behavior acceptable? I say no.
        Monopolistic behavior will never be tolerated in a capitalistic market system. If computer manufacturers did that to us (remember Compaq required you to use ONLY Compaq memory in their PCs), we would all be up in arms.

  • rubbaluvva

    which is why my s4 will probably be the last samsung i ever buy they seem to be going the way of apple and doing extremely Wanky things like this.

  • SuckaFree123456

    I left Apple and now I will leave Samsung. LG is where I am going next.

    • Memphis May [S]unjay

      Go to Sony.

    • Nathan Powell

      ditched my iPhone for a GSIII, and ditched that for the Nexus 5

  • Guest

    We have an XPosed framework work around ( Thanks to Mohhamed for the code up.

  • oldboy

    Samsung is after the money of both the consumers and 3rd party case makers. and also bad pr statement. Very bad decision. Note 3 is successful because of the android system which is free and open source but why try to capitalize on the case industry. Looks like this is why they were slow in releasing an update for their latest phone because of these codes inserted.

    anyway, i hope samsung never loose ground on why they were successful in the mobile market. it is because of its consumers and consumers having a choice.

    good luck to all.

  • Duck

    LG is the answer for me.

  • E.T.

    The end of the story should read: “For now, we recommend holding off on purchasing the Samsung Note 3, until the situation fully clarifies.”

  • Mark Burge

    has Samsung become Apple ???and what happens when tizen is implemented ??

    • Richard Sequeira

      Tizen will remain like it’s feature phone-like mobile os, Bada. People still refer to Android devices as “Google Phones”.

  • Dotan Cohen

    My Spigen Slim Armor case for the Note 3 broke in four months. Since I bought it from an authorized reseller and not from the official Spigen store, Spigen is not honouring the warranty even though the factory defect is obvious. That’s right: no warranty even if bought from an official Spigen reseller. I wrote about the ordeal, with the emails to Spigen, here: