Last week, following the start to distribution of the KitKat update for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, we picked up on reports from users that their third-party cases were no longer functioning properly, stripped of S-View features. While that was bad news, it wasn’t exactly unexpected, since rumors stemming to last fall suggested that such a crackdown on “unauthorized” accessories was coming – and specifically in regards to cases or wireless charging adapters. Faced with the backlash over this move, Samsung has released a short statement, though you’ll have to decide for yourself just how true the words ring.
Samsung says that this is a matter of a “software compatibility issue” and that “a software update will be available shortly,” presumably to restore the lost functionality. The company continues by pledging its ongoing support for “solutions for any issues that arise with product updates for both Samsung manufactured and third-party accessories.”
That sounds great… and call us cynical, but we’re not sure we quite buy it. After all, why in the world would Samsung design and deploy a system capable of distinguishing between official and third-party accessories in the first place, were it not planning to let the Note 3 act on that information? Surely, it would have been simpler and cheaper to leave that out altogether. And when we factor in last year’s implementation of region-specific SIM locks in order to give Samsung more control over what its customers did with their phones – well, blocking accessories sure fits with that same spirit.
We suppose we’ll have to wait and see both how this promised update arrives and how future Samsung devices handle the same situation, but we’ve still got a bad feeling about this all.