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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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