Well, this is awkward. While it was recently reported that Samsung removed the universal search feature from its international Galaxy S III devices, it turns out Samsung didn't mean to. Oops. According to the Korean manufacturer, the company only intended to remove the feature from certain US variants of the handset. Samsung told TechRadar, a UK-based tech publication, that the feature would be returning to the UK variant of the Galaxy S III. It's unclear if this means that it will only be returning to the UK variant, or if Samsung is simply informing TechRadar and the BBC of the versions relevant to their readers. The feature may very well reappear in all of the other countries where Samsung isn't currently facing bans on the sales of its products (read: anywhere but the US and probably Germany because those guys will ban anything, it seems).

It's a little confusing as to how Samsung could accidentally pull a feature from the entire world. While obviously the devices are very similar, it's unclear if it's simply that easy to accidentally apply a regional update worldwide, or if the company indeed was preparing to remove the feature just in case it became necessary in any other patent dispute with Apple. However, the larger takeaway is that Samsung isn't simply packing up its toys and going home. At least in some countries, the manufacturer not  only believes it has the right to use universal search, but also is not facing enough of a threat to back down on that belief just yet.

Source: BBC, TechRadar

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • GliTcH

    I still mostly agree with your previous article though. Seems like Google really should be a little more alive and proactive and sticking their neck out there to help Samsung/HTC/Motorola. I also do hate "workarounds" as they tend to be "removals". I think they need to get creative and work around these annoying patents, hell if they have to redo it, why not redo it better and more creative. Light a fire under their creative rears and really piss off Apple. "Fine, you wouldn't let us do it this way, we found a different, a superior, way to do it. Oh and we'll be patenting that, so no copying". It's kind of like how Android did the status bar thing. Apple researched other methods and discovered the status bar was the superior/easiest/best method to do it. Android just did it first. They need more innovative features that there really aren't any good alternatives.

    • http://twitter.com/thepowerofscott Scott Nienhuis

      You make it sound so easy.

    • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

      That's so much easier to say than to actually do.

    • József Király

      Problem is, those patents don't really describe the way it was done, but the feature itself. It's like, saying that Apple patented touch screens on phones, no matter how it is done, until it detects the user touching the screen, it's under the patent. Same goes with this universal search thing, Apple described the basics, and now it is basically impossible to make the feature, just a different way.

    • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

      Palm Pilot and Windows Mobile had status bars years ago.
      Mac's had status bars years ago.
      Many things had status bars years ago.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      For my part, I actually prefer what Google is doing: trying to convince IP bodies that some of the things Apple wants to be exclusive should be standard:

      For example, and this is a very rough analysis keep in mind, Apple just recently received a patent for certain UI elements involving multitouch or scrollable data lists. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that no one ever can use systems that acknowledge multiple input points, but if Apple's patent were to interfere with other manufacturers' ability to implement multitouch designs, well, Apple should be required to license these technologies. Especially since its patent was only rewarded after multitouch displays became more or less industry standard. The alternative, of course, is that Apple gets to ban the entire competition in the smartphone market.

      This wouldn't apply for everything, but it would go a long way in making peace. Which, by the way, is something that most people seem to miss. The #boycottapple movement, and the cries for Google to strike back and sue Apple in return miss the point: we don't need to defeat Apple. We need peace. We need the litigation to end. We need manufacturers to be free to innovate without the fear of or need to engage in constant litigation. Millions upon millions of dollars are being shoveled into preventing tiny little features like the way a scrolling page bounces back when it reaches the end, or whether or not apps are included in search results from being used in a product. This is silly, this is unproductive, and as we see from the various injunctions that have been awarded, they do very little to affect the market. With maybe the exception of the bans on Samsung tablets in Germany (and by extension the EU) over design issues, most injunctions can be skirted by simply issuing a software update.

      We need peace. We need freedom from this litigation. If Google or its partners are knowingly infringing on patents, then sure, they need to stop. But Apple also needs to at least consider licensing its technology. The scorched earth approach to the competition that Apple has been taking is harmful to the entire industry and the solution to it is not for Google to fight just as hard to destroy Apple. Eventually, they will acquire that notification shade patent, but I hope to hell Google doesn't sue Apple over it. That won't make things better. And it certainly won't make Apple back off. It will just make them more determined. Or it will ruin more great features of great products. Or both.

  • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

    Samsung is lying. Again.

  • John O’Connor

    right... and it didn't mean to remove it from any of our S3's? stop cowtowing to Apple and cancel your iParts manufacturing with them

  • xda-thief

    Worked for me like a charm on my Galaxy S2 - the 4.0.4 update also removed the universal search feature. It would be a similar process for S3 but you'd need the previous copy of the googlequicksearchbox app from an older firmware.

    Here's a little guide to do it (for S2)

    First you need root

    Install from playstore ES file explorer and enable the root browsing (you need to mount your system as read/write as well)

    Go in your system/app folder and search and delete "googlequicksearchbox.apk"

    Grab the one from HERE (its from a XWLPG 4.0.3) and copy paste to your system/app

    Set the permission (always using es file explorer) as RW-R-R

    • http://twitter.com/yellowspyder Spyder Ryder

      your link didn't work. try something else