22
Oct
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Let me just start by saying that the source of this rumor has a less than completely stellar track record and that we're dealing with a Korean translation here. The reason we're reporting on this rumor, though, is that it sounds highly plausible. Alright, expectations set? Good.

According to ETNews, Samsung may start locking accessories down with ID chips in order to prevent the usage of unauthorized products with its smartphones and tablets. Given the amount of coverage Samsung battery combustions get - even when Samsung's not at fault - it's very easy to see why the company would consider such a strategy.

The ETNews article seems to only make explicit mention of smart covers and wireless charging pads, but the logical next step there would be things like batteries and wired chargers. In the case of smart covers, features dependent on the cover - like answering a call while the cover is closed - simply wouldn't work. That is, unless the chip is detected (probably doable through the contacts on the replacement cover for wireless charging), the phone will disable all features related to use of the cover. Given the sketchy nature of the translation, though, the mechanism for action isn't completely clear. It's not obvious whether wireless charging pad would have to be genuine Samsung, or if the cover on the device would have to be genuine Samsung (and work with any charger), or if both would be necessary.

The general notion of Samsung restricting accessory usage on its phones and tablets, though, is just all too believable a story to ignore. Given the continued controversy around its region-locking of new devices as a way to crack down on gray market device sales, the accessory market is the next obvious target. Batteries in particular have proven troublesome for Samsung, with counterfeits readily available almost anywhere in the world. That has to be a major thorn in the side not only of Samsung's accessories division, but its marketing department - catastrophic battery failures make for devastatingly bad press, as it's an open-ended question of fault until Samsung proves otherwise (as it has generally done, to the company's credit).

Were Samsung to pursue such a strategy with its accessories, doubtless it would go the route Apple has to date - licensing its tech to third-party accessory makers who meet the company's standards. And, likely, are willing to pay a fee for the privilege of selling Samsung-approved products.

We've reached out to Samsung for comment on this story, and will update if we hear back.

ETNews via SamMobile

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • h4rr4r

    This poster may begin to not purchase Samsung devices.

    • Jesslyn Hendrix

      Uh, yeah. I'm with you on that one. When companies start to be punitive, I'm gone. Thats how I ended up in the Android world from the 'i' world.

      I guess Samsung forgets that consumers can and will move to other devices if they start making things too hard.

  • Cristi

    Illegally in Europe

    • Mark

      Didn't Apple already do this in their headphones? Don;t they already do this my creating proprietary charging cables?

      if Samsung want to sell in Europe, it will need MicroUSB, it's the law here.

      This story is SO full of holes...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        I highly doubt Samsung will flagrantly violate EU anti-competition laws. But the EU is not the entire world, in fact, it's not even most of it. This story has implications in many other countries.

        • Thatguyfromvienna

          "But the EU is not the entire world"

          Woah, wait! Dude!!! ^^

      • RitishOemraw

        How does apple avoid most of this then?
        Honest question.

        • Cerberus_tm

          I have been wondering about this too. I think perhaps the EU directive is very recent?

          • Justin W

            I believe Apple has to include a MicroUSB to [whatever they call their proprietary connector] adapter included in their packages. I'm not 100% sure on this, though I know other companies have had to do so in the past.

          • Cerberus_tm

            Right, that would more or less solve the problem...

          • http://www.rebelwithoutaclue.com/ Rebel without a Clue

            Sadly enough, only thing they have to do, is have such an adapter available... to buy... It's not included in the package, but you can buy one for 19,95... Talk about loopholes

  • Peter Garlinski

    I'm not sure if I like this idea or not. I can understand why a company might want to do this, but I would hate to own a phone or device that requires proprietary connections or something similar. I think it's a slippery slope...

  • DenDen

    Before everyone goes crazy just have in mind these are just rumours. I don't see why Samsung would contemplate this idea knowing we are all here watching their every move...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Because they don't want more scandals of people burning their thighs and blaming them.

      • h4rr4r

        Way more likely, they want to profit from selling accessories.

      • Sorian

        I can see this making sense with the batteries, probably easier to do those then any other accessory.

      • Tim

        I agree completely, and if this was used just for batteries, would be a good thing. Somehow I cant see this being limited to just batteries. Hopfully its all just rumors.

      • UniBroW

        I actually wouldn't have a problem with this if it thwarted batteries that were knock offs. If they did this, purely as a "benefit to the consumer" and not profit driven I'd also have no problem with it. License it to reputable third party battery companies and such (will likely not happen) otherwise the battery either doesn't work or informs you via a system message that the battery is a counterfeit.

        Just bought a battery on Amazon for my S3, says genuine Samsung all over it but it couldn't be further from the truth. It's a little tighter fitting an it's got no damned NFC antenna! /annoyed

    • Robb Nunya

      Because we're a very minor minority of the people purchasing devices. And while it's true we (as a collective) have a disproportionate amount of pull in the cellphone arena, it still is a drop in the bucket of their sales.

  • Tinky

    Anti monopoly laws will kick in

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Apple does this already - if they can do it (maybe not in all areas of the world), Samsung can get away with it too.

      • Tinky

        Sorry, should have mentioned EU. What apple does is "approve" accessories, which is a pain for users, but perfectly legal.

        • Roberto Giunta

          No, they have some kind of DRM chip in everything that has a Lightning adapter. With their 30-pin connector it was authorizing but not anymore.

  • NW_Raver

    I do bulk purchasing of phone accessories for 9 different wireless carrier stores. This is a shame because this will probably turn into the same situation that manufacturers are running into with Apple.

    For example, if you don't use an Apple MFI cable, you receive an error message on your phone stating that the accessory hasn't been approved.

    This will allow Samsung to scrape money off the top of all accessory sales for their phones while driving up the costs for consumers, and shrinking the profit margins for carriers and retailers like ourselves.

    • NW_Raver

      Just spoke to 2 of my primary manufacturers and they haven't heard of this yet.

      I really hope this isn't true, but Samsung's market share puts them in a position where they could pull it off just like Apple's MFI process.

      • Cerberus_tm

        I don't think people are nearly as attached to Samsung as they are to Apple! There are plenty of HTC, LG, Sony, etc. phones that are as good or better than Samsung's. Samsung does not own an ecosystem like Apple. I'll be the first to abandon ship if Samsung tries this little trick. Perhaps it will only apply to phones used in Japan or Korea: I think Europe would give Samsung a hard time, as with the micro-USB chargers, which are already compulsory (though I don't know how that works exactly).

        • mrjayviper

          apple has "cult" like following unlike Samsung. I currently have a note2 which I live very much. as long as the accessories I care about are not included, don't really care much. unless other companies has the right phone size and features I want. (don't care for removable battery either and the spen).

          • Cerberus_tm

            Exactly.

    • jonathan3579

      I don't own an Apple product but the good news on their side of the fence is that third parties must go through testing to be approved for use by Apple. (I personally see no harm in that as it assures a higher level of quality.) I, however, am not sure if they must pay any sort of royalty to Apple for being able to offer their own cheaper solution.

      • Mike Harris

        Proprietary cables/accessories/etc. have nothing to do with "a higher level of quality." It's all about the bottom line. Locking your product down with proprietary crap is done solely to make sure you buy all your accessories from that company.

        Of course their proprietary products are of high quality. That's to blind you from the fact that you're not allowed to buy your accessories from anyone else. That also means you can't really question the price since there's nothing to compare it to.

        • Cerberus_tm

          Exactly. There are plenty of third-party manufacturers of accessories that deliver fine products. I've bought all kinds of batteries from other brands, and they've always worked fine. The exploding batteries are one in ten million.

  • Mehmet Fatih

    Fascism.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Yeah, absolutely.
      This is totally the same as killing people for their lifestyle or beliefs or starting wars that put must of the world in ashes.

  • Luk45z

    They trying to be a NEW Apple or waht?

  • Stephen Fronda

    If there's a way to UNREGISTER and REREGISTER the accessories, I'd be fine with that... But no.... Samsung - there's a REASON most of us left (or avoided) Apple. You guys are starting to become worse....

    • Jonathan Isenberg

      *Insert obligatory comment about Samsung's bloated OS*

      (Puts on fire suit...)

      • Stephen Fronda

        Oh I totally agree. There's a reason I switched from them. I liked the S3 at first, but the S4 failed to "wow" me. The bloatware has always been annoying.... I'm happy with my HTC One right now lol

        • Brad

          oh yeah... so bloated. S3 is unusable with touchwiz.

          • Stephen Fronda

            It was fine with Cyanogenmod on it ^_^
            But when it was time to upgrade, I held both the HTC One and S4 in my hand, and the S4 just felt laggy. I do not like Touchwiz.
            I didn't really like HTC's sense, but it was very smooth, responsive and has yet to lock up on me. And the One has gotten better with it's 4.3 update. Battery life, aesthetics, etc. And they actually listen to users on what they want.... Don't see a lot of that with Sammy (Aka the Android Apple)

          • Brad

            yeah, CM makes it work... I have maybe spent a full month out of the full year I've had the s3 on CM. I'm going with the moto x if KitKat doesn't impress me... I read an article that says GEL will be able to replace all aspects of skins like touchwiz and sense, so if so - I'll go with a more hardware rich phone... otherwise, hello moto.

          • Stephen Fronda

            Since the RAZR, Moto has really impressed me with their hardware. Actually before then. I loved the OG Atrix to be honest. And I don't feel like Moto is trying to control my smart phone experience!

          • ElfirBFG

            I regret not getting another Moto every time I look at my phone.

          • Jadephyre

            Apart from locked Bootloaders that are so heavily encrypted that to this day the Droid Razr is still locked and will remain that way.
            Selling developer editions was the final straw that made me sell my Razr and get a GNex.
            Don't know if they still lock their phones down this way, do correct me if they don't, please.

          • Stephen Fronda

            I don't know if they do or not anymore to be honest. I remember as a RAZR owner, that part in particular frustrated me and my friends to no end.

          • Jadephyre

            Me too, which is a shame because it was pretty much on par with the GNex back then, which was notoriously hard to come by :-/

          • Matthew Fry

            I used to think Sense was better (than TouchWiz) but it's all very closed system minded and I've since replaced the gallery, text messaging, launcher, calculator, and browser. At this point it could be considered a Nexus with HTC optimizations.

          • Stephen Fronda

            That's essentially what I do lol.

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    It's just rumors, folks.
    I doubt they are THAT stupid.

    • Matthew Fry

      Famous Last Words.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Hopefully not!
        I really like Samsung smartphones but that step would absolutely deter me from their products.

      • Steph Chi

        Last four ones ? ;-)

  • wickets

    douchebag jk shin should spend more time taking care of his products instead of wasting it on accessory high jinx mumbo jumbo id chips......come on shin, get with the programme!!!

  • EH101

    If this happens, my Note 2 will be my last Samsung device. Same for any other manufacturer who adopts such Apple-like practices.

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      own cheaper solution.

    • HopelesslyFaithful

      Dell does it with their PSUs...annoys the crap out of me. I have to agree. I refuse to buy from companies that due this...granted i own an R4 but i got a good deal on it so i can't complain much.

      • Wrngway

        Im pretty sure that Dell stopped doing this years ago...thankfully. I bought one of their desktops in 2007 and made sure it had an ATX compatible PSU. It wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't used under powered units to begin with.

        • HopelesslyFaithful

          no their laptop PSUs have flash ROMs that have special codes,,,,m17x R4 is a laptop. So i have to buy a 130 dollar PSU from them. Tried one off amazon and didn't work.

      • EH101

        Didn't know this about Dells, but I also haven't bought an OEM tower pc in years so I wouldn't have even thought to check for such practices in the field. Good to know.

        • HopelesslyFaithful

          there laptop PSUs do that.

          • EH101

            The plot thickens! Well that's good to know also, thanks. Lol.

          • Jake

            You can turn that off in the BIOS though.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            where? Do i need the unlocked BIOS or does the regular one work?

    • Bobby Phoenix

      So you will have zero new tech if every manufacturer does this?

      • EH101

        Well, that's an interesting question.

        Hmm, I guess if that were to happen (very unlikely, I think/hope) I would have to examine my options and choose the lesser of all the evils.

        In such a case, the manufacturer(s) who only use(s) said chips in something mildly important/useful like battery protection would win out over manufacturers who use it on everything like this rumor implies. I mean, a smart cover doesn't need this, ever. Neither do wireless chargers based on the QI standard or USB cables. However, I sure wouldn't want to ever buy an aftermarket battery that explodes on my leg so I can see the usefulness in that specific scenario.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is, I would choose a device from the manufacturer that least limits what I can do with my device.

        As for other tech related items, I custom build my own PC's and I don't think that would ever be altered by such practices and laptops already do this for their charging cords so that's a moot point. They all still support regular USB 3.0 and HDMI, so I don't think I'm in any danger here really. We'll see.

      • RaptorOO7

        CrApple seems to sell alot of approved accessories and they rake in a fortune for it. It happens today, it will happen tomorrow.

      • Andre Laurin

        Or we the people all stop buying Samsung and whatever else adopts this kind of practice. I guarantee you, you hit them in their pockets and they will change their tune really fast.

    • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

      I don't buy Samsung anyway. I've become such a Nexus snob, I don't understand why anyone would want to buy a different phone to be honest (minus the whole glass back thing, what the hell were they thinking!?)

      • DenDen

        I'm a Nexus devotee as well (4&10) and think the glass back makes the Nexus 4 the sexiest phone ever (for normal use I have a bumper on and when going out and socializing I take the bumper off) I can imagine if you wanted a phablet form factor you'd have no choice but to go for Samsung but still, at twice the price it's still a hard sell against the N4

        • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

          It is sexy, but still impractical in terms of how easy it can break vs. plastic or metal. But yeah, all of your points are right on point.

      • EH101

        I've tried the Nexus route and came away unimpressed.

        I had the Galaxy Nexus and while it was good for its time, it and aosp don't hold a candle to touch wiz modifications or those from other manufacturers. I know that isn't a popular opinion 'round these parts, but TW does add a lot of useful features(especially for spen users) if you can get over or modify the hideous theme. I do agree TW is bloated and I am sure it contains mountains of redundant code, but newer hardware hardly suffers under the weight.

        As for build quality, I'll take plastic over aluminum or glass any day. I don't buy my devices as fashion accessories, I buy them to use them (and occasionally drop them, as happens often as a field engineer) and like being able to not worry about failure/damage. My 1st Note 2 had taken a great many spills in its time, with nothing to show for it until I finally had to get it replaced after 8 months because it developed two little (3mm diameter or so) blue spots on the screen. Even Samsung didn't know what the cause was, but they replaced it under manufacturer warranty without hesitation.

        I tried Nexus again this year and I was one of the unlucky people to go through 3 N7 2013 tablets and each had issues. One a sunken power button so bad that I had to jab it with my fingertip to get it to register and the other two had extreme light bleed that made the top 1/3 or so of the screen look washed out. Each had the multi-touch issue.

        When I buy something, it is understandable that there may be issues. But if 3 units in a row display similar issues, that worries me enough to avoid the brand. Perhaps I'll give it another shot a couple years from now, but for the moment, my Note 2 and the upcoming gpad 8.3 should do fine.

  • crackinthewall

    I'd be more excited if Samsung uses all these fancy chips and sensors to implement something similar to iOS7's Activation Lock instead of locking down their phones so hard they out-Apple Apple.

  • anmolm97

    Why do i get a feeling that Samsung is officially trying to repel people towards Apple.. :/

  • nyr2k2

    Phone manufacturers and carriers do lots of unseemly things, but this would be the first that lead me to actually make a switch.

  • kekkojoker90

    Don't buy samsung phone, simple.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    I think extending this to wired chargers is unlikely, with the notable exception of Apple the entire rest of the industry has been standardized on MicroUSB for several years now, and as has been pointed out to not accept a standard (generic) MicroUSB charger would actually be illegal in EU countries.

    As for batteries, I have to say counterfeit batteries are a scourge, I paid above market rate for a supposedly genuine HTC battery a couple years ago for what was then an aging (18 month old) phone. It turned out to be a counterfeit & didn't fit properly (Amazon refunded my money), Of course I ended up buying an Anker battery which worked fine and I suppose this would shut down the legit aftermarket battery players like Anker (are there any others) or at least raise their costs.

  • awaaas

    I think blackberry already did that with their batteries. If you didn't use the original one, you'll see crossed battery icon.

    But Chinese manufacturer can bypass this with something called "battery cloner/pairer", you just simply put your original battery, and your generic battery replacement in the cloner, and it will clone your battery, even the phones didn't know your battery is not original (I think it's copying something like chip id, etc.)

    And this cloner is sold along with replacement batteries.

    Battery cloner/pairer looks like this (image credit: batrebb.com)

  • jonathan3579

    Samsung's OEM batteries legitimately have an issue with swelling but on the other hand, I've never had one blow up so there's that.

    • Cerberus_tm

      Only one in a million batteries melt down, including those by respectable third parties and Samsung alike. It's really rare and just an excuse for Samsung to lock things down.

  • Fred

    If this is true. I feel like Samsung is becoming a more Apple like company. They're trying to trap you into their eco system so that you can only buy their product in order to get all the features they offer. They already did this with the computer sync (forgot the name) where you can only do it with Samsung computers. The Galaxy Gear only works with their devices. I feel like they're going to do more and more of this stuff now.

  • Big_Grams

    Samsung is going full Apple!

  • s44

    And here I thought AP was for *debunking* BS rumors.

  • Jason

    Samsung:
    The Apple of Android.

  • rap

    This is one of the reasons I always disliked Apple. Other family members have had a hard time with Apple accessories because of proprietary cables and lock down features. I'll go for another manufacture if Samsung does this

  • Matthew Fry

    The fee passed on to the customer.

  • dandroid13

    Why the hell is everyone talking about Apple here? This isn't iOS vs. Android anyway...

    • Mike Harris

      Because the story is about a practice that they already do. C'mon, it's not like we're talking apples and oranges here.

    • Matthew Fry

      Because a lot of us like Android OEMs because Apple is a dick. This is a dick move. I'd like to coin the term, "Pulling an Apple."

      • Jadephyre

        I quite like that term, as it fits perfectly.
        At least with accessories that use a miniUSB connector you don't need to buy new ones every two years like you have to do with Apple.
        The funny thing is that in Europe there is a law that every smartphone MUST have a miniUSB connector, yet Apple still evades that law somehow.
        I would like to see how they are able to do that, and if they are somehow fined for it.

        • Cheeseball

          Because they bundle a microUSB-to-Lightning (not miniUSB) dongle along with the newer iOS devices. That's how they "circumvent" European law.

          Also, the Dock connector has been in use since 2003. That's hardly "2 years".

  • Potato

    And people will still buy their devices.

  • Rovex

    I can understand why for some accessories. Some cheap chargers are so bad they damage devices, ive also seen wireless chargers with appalling quality internals. However i wouldn't like this if it was triggered by every accessory.

  • Christopher Ching

    Are we going back to the dark days of the proprietary charger? I happen to quite like the ability to plug all of my non-iPod accessories into any microUSB charger I happen to have lying around.

  • RoachForLife

    greedy motherfuckers, i swear

  • MJ

    Nexus devices folks...

  • fredphoesh

    if that happens, it will be Adios Samsung, go rot with dem apples.

  • WHO?

    Doubt that would include batteries and chargers.

  • kingdazy

    ....aaaand That will be my last Samsung (phone) purchase. (if proven true, among other recent observations)

    Hope you're watching Samsung. My own little personal opinion may not matter much to you, but believe me, I Am indicative of a large majority of "power users". Again, PU's may be a smaller percentage, but guess who the Average user (read as: Paying Customer) listens to when Making That Purchase? Me, and my ilk.

    You're starting to ride a fine line, Samsung.
    /internet threat

    • Primalxconvoy

      I agree. It's a reason why I don't buy Sony products anymore.

  • RaptorOO7

    If their intent is protect consumers and themselves from harm and lawsuits by requiring approved batteries and chargers, then so be it that is nothing more than what CrApple does.

    BUT, if they want to block me from using a different case with an S-View type cover integrated because their POS one is $70 and doesn't do squat at protecting my Note 3 then FU Samsung.

    That aside I don't want crappy stuff that wrecks my $700 phone or tablet.

  • A Black UI is the best UI

    So Samsung wants to restrict what you can and can't do with their device even more now. What's next not allowing play store access because it isn't Samsung approved?

    I should be able to use whatever cases I want with it phone not the stupid shit ones that Samsung provides which is just overpriced crap.

  • jlninja

    That will be the end of samsung purchases for me. For the greed, they will lose much more than they would gain

  • Jadephyre

    This will lead to significant losses for Samsung, at least I won't buy another of their phones if it isn't a Nexus.

  • Sevag Aguehian

    Samsung is slowly losing prestige.

  • Steph Chi

    Like others, no more Samsung device. Batteries problems, device regionalisation and now ID chip. Too bad, that's enough for me ...
    Wait a minute : is Steve reincarnated as a coreen ? ;-)

  • Random!

    Hmmm... In this situation, what would Annoying Orange say about Samsung?

    HEY APPLE! HEY! HEY! HEY APPLE! HEY APPLE! HEY! HEY APPLE! HEY APPLE! HEY APPLE! HEY APPLE! HEY! HEY! HEY APPLE!

  • Joshua Morris

    I believe all that would have to be done in the US is a monopoly lawsuit and it'd be history.

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