The firmware update being rolled out to the Samsung Galaxy S3 ostensibly solely to address irksome bugs also removes the handset’s local search function, it has emerged.
The disappearance of the feature, which allows users to search for content stored on the phone via the Google Search box, is thought to be linked to the latest in a long line of patent disputes between Samsung and Apple.
Local search is known to be among the features that Apple claims it originated and has alleged in the US that its inclusion on Android phones is a violation of its patents.
However, no such allegation against Android phones is being made in Europe, suggesting that Samsung is taking pre-emptive action, lest it is once again forced to remove its products from shop shelves while it awaits judicial rulings.
No explanation for the move has been forthcoming from Samsung, which billed the new firmware as a stability update.
Earlier this month, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the subject of a sales embargo after a judge ruled that its local search function was in contravention of Apple’s rights.