How Google will Unban Galaxy Nexus, Changes in Android

Apple has hit hard on couple of Android OEMs and vendors litigating them using the flawed Patent system.

In its latest move, the Cupertino company has filed a case against Google and Samsung that resulted in ban of Galaxy Nexus, the flagship android device. Which co-incidentally came a day after Google IO 2012, where Google announced that Galaxy Nexus, along with Nexus 7 would be the first devices to run Android’s latest iteration: Android 4.1 Jellybean.

A US judge rejected a request by Samsung to lift a pre-trial injunction against sales of its Galaxy Nexus phone. This was in continuation to friday’s US District grant to Apple’s request to block sales of the smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung had asked the court to stay the injunction pending resolution of an appeal. Apple had objected to the Galaxy Nexus saying that it infringed on four patents.

Update: July 8 2012: Galaxy Nexus has been unbanned coz Samsung has been awarded reprieve. The verdict may only be temporary, until Apple responds, but that hasn’t stopped Google whacking the device back up for sale on its online portal.

The Patent dispute

According to Apple, the Nexus “Quick Search Box” which is able to search multiple sources through a single interface like Apple’s Siri. Apple insists that this is patent infringement. The other three areas where Apple has accused Samsung of patent infringement are actionable linking, slide-to-unlock, and touch screen word suggestion.

Details: Patent number: 8086604

The present invention provides convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary interface which is capable of accessing information in a variety of locations, through a number of different techniques. Using a plurality of heuristic algorithms to operate upon information descriptors input by the user, the present invention locates and displays candidate items of information for selection and/or retrieval. Thus, the advantages of a search engine can be exploited, while listing only relevant object candidate items of information.

Google and Samsung are working on software patches to bypass the ban by not stepping on the common areas, at least for now.

Whats changing in Android – Changes Google is making in the Patch

We don’t know if Quick search box (Android universal search) is undergoing temporary or permanent changes, but atleast for now, the quick search option is being simplified so as to only show results from the Web, with local search options disabled entirely on the device. The voice search option will also be restricted to retrieving results from the Web. That means you can no longer user Google Voice actions for Maps/Navigation direction, call phones, send text and more. Since Google search widget is available via Play Store, this should be pushed to all Android devices, worldwide.

What is seriously in question is that whether we would see Google Now and Google Voice search in Jellybean, which are also essentially stepping the same area.

With over 7 Patents (some still in question) and 25 handsets at risk (including Galaxy S3), we’ve to see how well Google does to secure future of it’s mobile OS. Sure this is raging concerns among developer & user community and they all seem to promote #boycottapple.

Not just about the patches

Even as Google pushes out the software update, it plans to support Samsung in its appeal of the injunction as well as to challenge the universal search patent at issue in the case.

Google and Samsung are also expected to challenge the validity of the patent, seeking a re-examination by the US Patent and Trademark office. Their argument likely will center on the notion that universal search predates the Apple patent.

Although the Galaxy Nexus is not the best selling Android phone, it is highly strategic for Google as the first device with the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the operating system. It is also the device that Google gave out to developers last week to begin their testing of Jelly Bean, the next major update to Android.

But the thing worth noting is that Apple copied several Android features, but still is shy of agreeing to them. At least the infographic says it all (source imgur):

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