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Universal search reportedly vanishes from Galaxy S3

Feature at the center of a patent spat with Apple over its use in the Galaxy Nexus has been removed from the smartphone in an over-the-air software update.

Samsung Galaxy S III, GSIII, GS3, iPhone
The Samsung Galaxy S3 with the iPhone. CNET

As Apple and Samsung spar over universal search in the new Galaxy Nexus, it appears Samsung has quietly removed the feature from the Galaxy S3 in an effort to keep the new smartphones on retailers' shelves.

Soon after a U.S. judge denied Samsung's request earlier this month to suspend a ban on U.S. sales of its Galaxy Nexus phone over a patent spat with Apple, Google said it was already working on a patch to address the issue. However, while that patch hasn't materialized, it appears Google has gone on the defensive by removing the offending feature with an over-the-air software update, Android Central reports.

CNET has contacted Google and Samsung for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in June granted Apple's request for the preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus and later said there was insufficient evidence to stay the injunction for the duration of a Samsung appeal. A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the injunction could be lifted temporarily while it considers eliminating the injunction altogether.

Google began selling Samsung's Galaxy Nexus directly to consumers in April. The device, which now costs $349, originally debuted at a Google-hosted event last October in hand with Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Galaxy S3, which offers a dual-core processor, a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, has also been the target of an Apple injunction attempt, but that effort was tabled last month when Koh ruled there were already too many issues to consider.