Samsung Galaxy S3 loses local search after 'stability' update

The latest update, earmarked to improve "stability," could in fact be considered a downgrade of the smartphone model.

Samsung Galaxy S3
The Samsung Galaxy S3. Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung is rolling out an update for its international Galaxy S3 smartphone that disables on-device search functionality.

According to Android Central, the over-the-air upgrade currently rolling out is described as a "stability" update and, although it brings system improvements, it also strips out the local search functionality from the device's built-in Google Search app.

Consequently, when S3 owners conduct a Web search on their smartphone, results generated from content stored locally on the device -- such as contacts -- will not be included.

Local search is reported to have been disabled on some U.S. Galaxy S3 devices , as well as on the unlocked international model.

The change is thought to be the result of the continuing patent spat between the South Korean company and Apple.

While Apple owns a patent that covers local searches, it has not been cited in the current legal battle. Samsung could well have just decided to go for the lesser of two evils -- limiting the functionality of the smartphone rather than face more legal wrangling over patents.

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