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Sprint Galaxy S3 security update dumbs down search to avoid Apple injunction

July 10, 2012

The Galaxy S3 has just started selling in the U.S. and it has already received a bunch of security updates – especially the Sprint version – that shouldn’t affect your general smartphone experience.

However, the most recent update that’s available as an over-the-air (OTA) download, also carries an unwanted fix. Apparently Samsung is afraid that Apple may continue to seek an injunction against this flagship handset in the U.S., and therefore the company decided to also update the search feature on the Sprint Galaxy S3.

We’re looking at a dumbed down search feature that lets users access only web results when looking for stuff on the device. Anything else that’s stored on the handset (contacts, applications, messages, etc) does not show up anymore. The same kind of update could soon be rolled out to other U.S. Galaxy S3 versions – and let’s not forget that the phone is going to be available from six carriers in the region including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and C Spire.

Why is Samsung already defending its Galaxy S3? The company has been dealt four defeats in the recent weeks in a patent-based lawsuit initiated by Apple: two sales bans in the U.S. against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Nexus and two appeals losses in each instance. Samsung managed to overturn the Galaxy Nexus injunction in Federal Circuit court, but these decisions are not final – the court date for the lawsuit is now set for July 30.

As the Galaxy Nexus sales were stopped in the U.S., Google decided to step in and to deliver a workaround to that “unified search” patent used by Apple in this lawsuit. Consequently, the search feature on the Galaxy Nexus has been dumbed down to only reveal web-based results. Now, Samusng is doing the same thing with the Sprint Galaxy S3, and we may see the same “security update” roll out to other U.S. versions soon.

Sure, the original search function can be re-enabled on the device by installing the old GoogleQuickSearchBox.apk, as Phandroid points out, but that’s something you’ll have to do yourself.

As for Apple’s intentions to obtain an injunction against the Galaxy S3, they have been prevented so far, but who’s to say Apple will stop at that.

Have you noticed the new search changes on your Sprint Galaxy S3?