Samsung surprised users of the all-new Galaxy S III on both Sprint and AT&T with an over-the-air update last week. The update contained the usual bugfixes and something more: reduced functionality. The Google search bar, which previously enabled users to search for content on the phone itself, was changed to only search Google. The presumption was that it had something to do with the ongoing patent fight with Apple, which had already resulted in a temporary injunction of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus. We reached out to Samsung to find out the story and it does seem like our presumption was correct:
Samsung has updated the software for the Galaxy S III as a precautionary measure to ensure that U.S. consumers may enjoy using our innovative products without interruption
While the injunction on sales of the Galaxy Nexus has been temporarily suspended, it's clear that Samsung wants to make sure that similar roadblocks don't hold up the launch of its flagship Android phone for 2012. No word yet on whether the Verizon and AT&T versions will be receiving similar OTA updates, but don't be surprised if they do.