The Verge: Google hopes to escape Galaxy Nexus sales ban with OTA software patch
Last Friday Apple was granted a preliminary injunction on sales of the Galaxy Nexus in the United States, over alleged patent infringement. Samsung just lost its bid to stay the injunction, but that may not matter: Google and Samsung have a patch readied to address the issue that could be rolling out over the air as soon as tonight. We just spoke with a Google spokesperson, who informed us that the update, which will be rolling out to all Galaxy Nexus devices in the US regardless of carrier, will essentially dumb down the quick search bar on the Android homescreen, limiting its results to just those from the web. No local searches on the device will be performed at all, taking on-device apps, integrated Gmail, and other search results out of play. Voice search, which has been a point of contention in the trial, isn’t going anywhere — but it will be restrained to the same set of limited search results.
The searchability of Android has always been one of the operating system’s greatest strengths, so the change will no doubt be a usability hit depending on how you use your device. What’s more, Google couldn’t confirm to us whether or not users would have the option of declining the update to retain the functionality currently present on their Galaxy Nexus phones. Much of the infringement spat has related to Android’s use of a unified search interface, but according to Google the standout feature of Android 4.1 — Google Now — will be safe when 4.1 arrives for the general public. “This just relates to the Galaxy Nexus,” the spokesperson told us, “and not a product on the Galaxy Nexus.”
Samsung will be appealing the ruling immediately. We’ll bring you more on both the legal case — and the software patch — as it occurs.