The Inquirer-Home

Samsung firmware update borks third-party accessories

Updated Bye bye cheap Chinese batteries
Mon Jan 27 2014, 15:33
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 overall

KOREAN HARDWARE MAKER Samsung has released a firmware update that is disabling third-party accessories.

There were rumours last year that Samsung might ban third-party accessories, and it appears that the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat update for the Galaxy Note 3 has implemented that policy.

Some Samsung devices have a feature known as S-view, which is a window in the case that shows basic information including the time, weather and notifications. However users have started reporting that their devices no longer show the information after the firmware upgrade.

After some speculation, German website All About Samsung published a statement from its local Samsung office that confirmed the change.

Translated, it reads, "To ensure a pleasant and smooth user experience with Samsung products for our customers, we recommend that only original accessories from Samsung are used. Of course, customers can continue to rely on third-party accessories.

"The full functionality of our devices and accessories, however, can only be ensured with genuine Samsung components, since only in this way can it be ensured that equipment and accessories are perfectly matched. A correlation between the Android version 4.4 and the supposed incompatibility of third-party accessories does not exist."

It appears that although there is no direct correlation between the Android 4.4 Kitkat update and the S-view problem, Samsung no longer supports compatibility with third party accessories and recommends using its own official ones.

One problem with this is that Samsung's accessories are rather expensive. It is understood from the region locking that has been encountered on recent Samsung models that the chip system being used to identify genuine accessories could be licensed to third parties, but Samsung has not indicated that it intends to do this, or what it licensing terms might be.

Although Samsung's primary motive seems to be to remove potentially dangerous products such as exploding batteries from the market, this approach seems a bit heavy-handed. Samsung has yet to release a statement on its future strategy. We already know that the Galaxy S4 is fitted with the same chip, so we might see a similar problem arising with that model soon, along with the imminent Galaxy S5.

Samsung has since said that it is looking into the issue. A spokesperson said, "Samsung is aware of the issue with third-party accessories and is currently investigating it." µ


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