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Samsung Galaxy S3 Stripped of Local Search

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the it's-not-a-feature-it's-a-bug dept.

Cellphones 243

DavidGilbert99 writes "Ahead of a legal battle with Apple, Samsung has begun disabling the local Google search functionality on the international version of the Galaxy S3. This mean S3 owners will no longer be able to search contacts, messages, or other content stored locally on their phones using the in-built Google app. The interesting thing is that Apple has yet to sue Samsung over this feature in the EU or the UK and so it seems as if Samsung is being ultra cautious ahead of the the companies' big court date on Monday next."

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243 comments

pre-emptive stripping (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#40768015)

i don't know if that's a good thing or bad!!!

Re:pre-emptive stripping (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768481)

It's a strip of search. I blame the TSA!

Re:pre-emptive stripping + unstrip with plugins (3, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | about a year ago | (#40768595)

I think a safe way would be to strip it and change the entire search framework to a plugin based system. later let third part apps put plugins into the search framework.

They already do this for sharing, facebook when install can add itself as a share provider and application wishing to share content automagically see facebook( or dropbox etc).

But... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768017)

So they've removed the feature before the courts even told them to?

Is that not an admission of guilt of infringement?

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#40768041)

They already have an injunction against it in the US, and due to various WTO agreements Apple will probably get that applied elsewhere.

Re:But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768083)

Serious question here....but how much do these companies spend on legal fess? It seems like every week they are throwing lawsuits at each for something or the other.

Re:But... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#40768163)

Perhaps, IANAL so I don't know, but it also should prevent Apple from being able to file an injunction against selling it (at least over this issue), since the function no longer exists on it. Samsung may figure it is easier to pay a small fee over prior "infringement" (quotes because the whole "patent on local search" is complete and utter bullshit) than to have their sales of the device blocked for weeks or months, losing them market share.

Re:But... (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | about a year ago | (#40768365)

Is that not an admission of guilt of infringement?

It is hard not to infringe if you are writing a single search interface. Here's the patent. [uspto.gov] Apple is claiming to have invented executing searches on multiple sites from a single interface, of ranking and presenting the results in some order, and of being able to guesstimate what file type the user is trying to search for:

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....

...web-browser applications are not designed to search for non-web-based documents or applications located on the computer or an associated computer network and, conversely, File Find-type utility programs are not capable of searching the Internet for web-based documents or applications. There has been no combination of desktop find routines that presents a single interface and Internet browsing routines to allow a computer user to find a needed or desired item of information from among all different types of information storage systems. Additionally, there is no program which is able to process the user's input and then determine, using many different factors, including use of the Internet, the intent of the user as to the file to be retrieved. Accordingly, in order to present a more informative and personalized user interface, a unitary manner of finding a user's desired item of information is needed.

I have bolded the things that Apple claims did not exist before this invention.

Re:But... (3, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#40768387)

as pointed out last time, Dogpile.com holds a massive amount of prior art if the claim is searching multiple sources with one interface.

(Not to mention as a programmer is damn obvious).

Re:But... (3, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year ago | (#40768527)

Dogpile just aggregates a bunch of search results.

Apple's patent is on refining results based on where the user is, the user's search history, etc...

For example, if you're in an airport and search for airplane, you are probably looking for information on airplanes, not Jefferson Airplane, or the movie Airplane, which is the first search result in Google.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | about a year ago | (#40768585)

To quote Steve Jobs, "Good artists copy, great artists steal". That company comes up with nothing original.

not at all (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#40768429)

No way. Typically when you go to court to fight something you don't want to be doing what the plaintiff is complaining about at the same time.

Quit the speculation shit. In fact, doing what you're protesting at the same time is far more likely to be an admission of guilt.

Re:But... (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year ago | (#40768469)

Oh Apple invented local search didn't you know? They have a patent after all! That MUST mean they invented it first and spent BILLIONS of dollars in R&D developing it. Right? RIGHT?

Groundbreaking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768021)

Because searching is like... so new?

Ugh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768031)

Fuck you, Apple.

Re:Ugh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768135)

Go FRACK all of y'all who think it's okay for companies like Samsung to go around ripping off the work of legitimate innovators like Apple.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768203)

FRACK? lol. shitty troll is shitty.

Re:Ugh (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year ago | (#40768391)

How is being able to search for something "innovative"?

Apple shouldn't be able to have a monopoly on obvious features like this.

Re:Ugh (1)

tsa (15680) | about a year ago | (#40768671)

If this came to court, wouldn't the judge dismiss the patent because of its obviousness?

Re:Ugh (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year ago | (#40768495)

I know right? Apple holds a PATENT after all. That must mean DECADES of research, and the blood sweat and tears of its TOP engineers. To develop searching multiple sources at the same time. Yeah. Right. Ok then.

Re:Ugh (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#40768149)

exactly. though couldn't they just add a local search textbox right next to the web search textbox?

Re:Ugh (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#40768295)

Rather one for contacts, one for msn-logs, one for mail, one for files, one for ID3 tags, one for web, one for facebook, one for ..

Re:Ugh (-1, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#40768201)

Why? They're playing by the rules. What's the problem? Certainly not Apple.

Re:Ugh (4, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year ago | (#40768293)

The problem is both the rules and those who exploit them.

Re:Ugh (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#40768515)

No, this is the way it's meant to be played. And Apple is just doing a bit better than others right now. This is not an 'exploit'. It's definitely a feature.

Re:Ugh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768309)

Lawful Evil is still evil.

Re:Ugh (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#40768357)

I'm not convinced they are playing by the rules.

I think the game is probably better titled "I have a bigger legal bat than you do."

Re:Ugh (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#40768423)

I think the game is probably better titled "I have a bigger legal bat than you do."

Well, maybe those are the rules..

I don't get this. People sit on their fat asses and reelect corrupt rule makers and then complain about it.. Rinse-repeat... And of course the people who point this out are the ones to be vilified.

Re:Ugh (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year ago | (#40768513)

Yeah right. As if companies have no business behaving ethically.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768333)

That's what they should have named the update.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768363)

No, fuck you, the consumer.

Keyword: humors

Re:Ugh (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about a year ago | (#40768485)

Man, this comment's gonna get modfucked into oblivion. Thou shalt not make fun of the Cult. Never make fun of the Cult.

Re:Ugh (3, Interesting)

execthis (537150) | about a year ago | (#40768635)

How can something as basic and obvious as performing a search of local system have a patent?

I cannot be more thoroughly disgusted by Apple. Just like everything else in society, it is the people who purport to provide something who are ultimately the ones responsible for its deprivation.
It is, for example, precisely because of the "healthcare" industry that there is so much actual deprivation of healthcare in our society. The deprivation would not be possible without it.
It is precisely because we have a government obsessed with our "security" that, in actuality, we are deprived ot true security. The deprivation precisely requires it.
And it is precisely because we have a company like Apple providing personal information technology that, ultimately, is becoming responsible for the deprivation of such technology.
These patent wars are frivolous and sickening. We the actual people are just poor lowlife paeans getting thrown about as the big giants play their games. But I have to say, Apple has shown itself to be a bad player, with far more ill-will than other companies like Samsung. I have a hard time believing that most other tech companies would have initiated such frivolous and anti-innovative BS like Apple has. I'm willing to bet that most of these asian companies which, yes, often mimic successful ideas of other products, are just happy to do what they do and not fuss over BS and play pissy games like Apple. There is a long history of makers and craftsmen borrowing ideas and often improving upon them. But Apple is different. Its conduct is truly rotten and malevolent. They truly are not committed to the advancement of technology, but to sheer greed.

For once, I breathe a sigh of relief (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#40768057)

Being that my version of the Galaxy S3 was purchased through Verizon, and they are notoriously slow with software updates, i can safely say that this feature will be present on my phone for a long time to come. Thanks for being lazy slackers, Verizon!

Re:For once, I breathe a sigh of relief (1)

kidgenius (704962) | about a year ago | (#40768219)

Umm...it's already been removed from the Verizon version. That was one of the first ones to get the update in fact. It may not have yet rolled out, but its coming soon. http://www.droid-life.com/2012/07/20/verizon-galaxy-s3-receiving-update-to-vrlg1-includes-new-kernel-and-dumbed-down-search/ [droid-life.com]

didn't i have local search on my Mac years ago? (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#40768063)

oh wait, that's why apple is suing them

seriously, google had local PC search like 10 years ago with google desktop. apple had it with finder i can't remember when.

unless samsung has really dumb lawyers that's prior art right there. local search has been on computers since the 1990's

Re:didn't i have local search on my Mac years ago? (3, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#40768257)

It's not local search that's the issue. It's searches on multiple databases from a single interface that are in question, specifically a single search UI that checks both local data and online for results. Apple had that with Sherlock back in 1997, and the patents being used in the various cases against Samsung go back that far in some cases.

As you said, local search has been around forever, but a single interface for simultaneous local and online searches is a newer thing, and Apple seems to think they own it. Considering they've already had a few rulings in their favor in the U.S. for these patents, you can't blame Samsung for playing it cautious. IANAL, but I wouldn't be surprised if they could be sued for knowingly infringing at this point, given that the other rulings have gone against them with regards to these patents.

Re:didn't i have local search on my Mac years ago? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#40768417)

As you said, local search has been around forever, but a single interface for simultaneous local and online searches is a newer thing, and Apple seems to think they own it.

Sadly, if they have been granted a patent to it -- they effectively do.

Which is the most annoying thing about all of these lawsuits; they've all been granted ridiculous patents, that mostly seem to cover an idea, they all overlap, and the only thing corporations seem to understand now is to sue.

I honestly don't see a way out of this, unless companies just decide amongst themselves to play nice -- but with billions in product revenue at stake, everybody would rather sue everybody else to make sure nobody else sells a product like their.

Blame software patents. That's what is fundamentally broken here -- the companies are just looking out for their own interests, even if that means they're spending so much time in court.

Re:didn't i have local search on my Mac years ago? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#40768263)

seriously, google had local PC search like 10 years ago with google desktop. apple had it with finder i can't remember when.

... and Microsoft has had it with Indexing for about the same amount of time.

The real story here is how the term "justice system" is no longer an accurate descriptor of American courts.

Re:didn't i have local search on my Mac years ago? (3, Informative)

Branciforte (2437662) | about a year ago | (#40768341)

Apple filed the patent in 2000. I'm guessing it had something to do with Spotlight.

Google Desktop Search came out in 2005, I think. Just before the Apple patent was finally approved.

It's still a bogus patent. It's even short enough to be readable, despite the legalese. It basically says, you enter a query into a box, and the "machine" looks in several different places for the answer.

How??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768075)

How is this patentable?? Really? This is just common sense that such a feature exists. Or is there a algorithm for this sort of thing? This is ridicilous

Re:How??? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#40768115)

duh, someone has to think it up, code it and make up an algorithm. takes time and money. not like the algorithm is there in the open

but this has been on PC's since at least 1995 or 1998. maybe on 3.1 as well. unless apple was the first one to do it for email and email content

Re:How??? (1)

Branciforte (2437662) | about a year ago | (#40768373)

There isn't really an algorithm in the patent. Just a description of the idea.

And this is not something that is non-obvious to a normal practitioner of the art.

Stability update (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768087)

And they classified the update that did this as a "Stability update" without mentioning the functionality change.
Time to sue.

Another victory for patents (4, Interesting)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year ago | (#40768097)

Patent holders win.
Consumers lose.
Where's profit?

Lawyers Profit (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#40768247)

The lawyers profit. It is their game.

1. Petition for patents on everything.
2. File Patent lawsuit with billable hours.
3. Profit.

Re:Another victory for patents (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#40768283)

Patent holders win. Consumers lose. Where's profit?

In the pockets of patent attorneys, of course.

Simple solution: we consumers quit our jobs, and all become patent attorneys. It's win-win!

Re:Another victory for patents (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768615)

Sorry, I just patented the idea of quitting your job and becoming a lawyer.

Re:Another victory for patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768599)

Conversely, company B licenses tech from company A rather than duplicate R&D costs. Both produce products for the Consumer. A's R&D investment becomes worthwhile, rather than competitive disadvantage that will sink the company in the market; R&D is rewarded for Consumer products.

Yeah-yeah, I know. But unless you address that you're just being glib in a way that will help no-one understand what needs to be fixed in the patent system.

Invalid patent (1)

leoplan2 (2064520) | about a year ago | (#40768137)

If Google is successful at invalidating that patent (at USPTO or at Court of Appeals), will this feature come back?

Re:Invalid patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768205)

That would be a dangerous subject of patent for _GOOGLE_ to attempt to invalidate...

Re:Invalid patent (1)

leoplan2 (2064520) | about a year ago | (#40768249)

why?

Re:Invalid patent (2)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#40768361)

Because if you attempt to invalidate a patent and fail, you become a sitting duck in federal court.

Apparently you lose the right to raise certain defenses such as invalidity and prior art if you strike out with a reexam at the USPTO.

Re:Invalid patent (1)

Branciforte (2437662) | about a year ago | (#40768397)

Because it is not a valid patent. It is not a novel idea and it's implementation is obvious to any programmer. It was just basically a landgrab by Apple, and that's not a valid reason to grant a patent.

Re:Invalid patent (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | about a year ago | (#40768271)

Within hours of the update first rolling out on Sprint the .apk file for the original was circulating in the usual places. Sideload and install. If you are rooted it can be made permanent, otherwise you might need to re-install after a reboot.

Wackier then the Gong Show (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year ago | (#40768177)

Wait, I am a little confused and not only did I RTFA, but I did a Google search for more information.

Apple has a patent on searching local files for information? wtf? Did they get a patent for searching both the internet and the local files....I mean this must be a twisted reality when a grep or find type operation, which has been around for a looooooong time not only gets a patent, but stops another company from performing said function on its own machines.

Somehow we are getting to the point where companies like Apple seem to be able to patent a chair, just because its a chair that works in the field; no one else can build such a chair again.....This just makes me sad for the industry I once loved.

Re:Wackier then the Gong Show (2)

cmiller173 (641510) | about a year ago | (#40768287)

I think it is a patent on searching for and showing unified local and web search results. And I think it is a mater of time before prior art shows up to invalidate.

Re:Wackier then the Gong Show (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#40768389)

I think the real issue here, is that people are taking the opinion of some jerk-off blogger* as gospel, with absolutely zero evidence to support his claims.

Maybe, and I know this is a stretch, but maybe they issued a stability update which removed the feature, because it really was causing a stability issue. Crazy, right?


* nothing against the guy personally, I happen to think the vast majority of bloggers are jerk-offs.

Re:Wackier then the Gong Show (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | about a year ago | (#40768401)

Wait, I am a little confused and not only did I RTFA, but I did a Google search for more information.

Maybe Samsung disabled the ability to find useful results on the topic in Google.

Re:Wackier then the Gong Show (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year ago | (#40768463)

Apple has a patent on searching local files for information? wtf?

They also have a patent for the rectangle.

Re:Wackier then the Gong Show (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about a year ago | (#40768709)

It would be great if Xerox would rise up and strongarm everyone who's patented their prior art, and invalidate the patents.

Because Apple owns grep? (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#40768187)

Wouldn't an Android search GUI just be a front end for a bunch of grep (for data) or find (for files) commands?

Re:Because Apple owns grep? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#40768381)

will grep work searching the contents and metadata of email and mp3's?

Re:Because Apple owns grep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768437)

Yes; that "metadata" is in the same file.

Re:Because Apple owns grep? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#40768677)

If it's part of the actual file it will ... grep doesn't object to binary files last I knew.

It won't be broken out into nice fields like "Composer" or whatever, but grep will chew through files looking for text matches.

Re:Because Apple owns grep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768679)

Wouldn't an Android search GUI just be a front end for a bunch of grep (for data) or find (for files) commands?

No. That's like claiming Lotus Notes was just a front end for a room full of monkeys throwing shit at each other.

Can you search without it? (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year ago | (#40768229)

Does it have local search without using a specific google app?

I have a nexus one right now, and I can't search a damn thing with it. It drives me downright nuts. I've run into so many frustrating usability issues with android that I've decided I'm going to have to move away from it on my next purchase. It's really sad when the evil proprietary overlords support industry standards (eg: caldav) better than an open OS.

Turd (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#40768355)

So basically, your evil overlord stops Android companies to implement search, then you support the evil lord for it.

Amazing, I never knew someone could actually fuck themselves with such a tiny dick.

Re:Turd (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year ago | (#40768755)

I didn't realize that case verdicts could go back in time and change things after the fact.

My Nexus ONE is on 2.3.7, and it doesn't have anything resembling decent device-wide search. As far as I'm concerned this court ruling hasn't changed anything because I haven't had this feature in the first place.

Furthermore, Apple cannot block google from implementing industry standards such as caldav and carddav, yet google hasn't implemented those. Yet Apple and Microsoft have. That's the other point I was trying to make that you clearly missed.

And what's this "Your evil overlord" stuff? As if I am somehow responsible for what Apple does? Really?

Re:Can you search without it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768465)

Does it have local search without using a specific google app?

I have a nexus one right now, and I can't search a damn thing with it. It drives me downright nuts. I've run into so many frustrating usability issues with android that I've decided I'm going to have to move away from it on my next purchase. It's really sad when the evil proprietary overlords support industry standards (eg: caldav) better than an open OS.

Apple: mission fucking accomplished.

What a Win for Apple (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year ago | (#40768407)

Their competitors are now scared to implement the most basic functions. Congratulations! Everybody else loses out, but fuck those guys and fuck society, am I right?

Re:What a Win for Apple (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#40768581)

who said companies exist to help society?

you (and I) may think that's a great idea; but I assure you, those who run things DO NOT.

sorry. the world is not just or fair.

Re:What a Win for Apple (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year ago | (#40768703)

who said companies exist to help society?

No one, but when they actively hinder society then society should eliminate said company.

Part of the solution? (4, Insightful)

nightfire-unique (253895) | about a year ago | (#40768411)

I want to preface this with: I love Samsung and have spent a lot of money on their products. I own a Captivate Glide, and am looking at the SGS3. I hope they triumph over Apple and cost them a lot of money in the marketplace.

But, if they roll out an update which removes this functionality from devices that have already been sold, I hope a class action lawsuit is filed against them.

Partly because removing functionality from a product that has been sold should be very illegal (criminal, not contract law), but also because it's important that every company suffers the consequences of software patents - regardless of whether or not they screw their customers by backing out functionality. I hope billions of dollars are wasted on this garbage, so that the situation ultimately becomes untenable. One day, multinational corporations will, together, take a step back and realize that this nonsense must stop.

Re:Part of the solution? (2)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about a year ago | (#40768519)

this nonsense must stop

have spent a lot of money on their products

'Nuff said. Nothing will stop as long as you keep giving them money.

Re:Part of the solution? (1)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | about a year ago | (#40768675)

I don't see how you can really blame this on Samsung. The Galaxy Nexus was subject to an import ban over this feature and couldn't be sold til it was removed. Yeah, that ruling technically only applies to the Nexus, but the feature is exactly identical across their other products. I wouldn't expect them to wait for each product to be banned before making this change, especially when that puts them at risk for Apple to claim willful infringement (subject to much harsher penalties), since they now obviously know the feature is infringing.

Apple is a n00b at being evil. (2)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#40768415)

Apple is too much of a newbie at playing the evil monopolist game. Software patents suck, but at some point, Apple will run out of patents to assert, specially now that the competition is getting ahead of them in innovation and features. Google has learned that they only have to remove existing features and reimplement them differently. Microsoft, on the other hand, is a true veteran at being evil and forces Android manufacturers to sign up for expensive and shady "IP" licensing schemes.

Re:Apple is a n00b at being evil. (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about a year ago | (#40768487)

Right. I guess "Hi I'm an iPhone, and I'm a Samsung Galaxy III" advertisements hit a snag with all the same features being there :)

Apple has a patent on local search (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768475)

Very weird - Palm did universal local search on handhelds circa 1999. Apps could even (actually, had to) determine how app data was searched.

That sucks in principle, but I'm ok with it (1)

Jahf (21968) | about a year ago | (#40768523)

Local search is actually one of the least useful things I've ever seen on a phone. I HATE the implementation on iOS. I don't use it on my Android devices. Pretty much ever. And have many many times wanted to be able to remove the way it worked from both.

It sucks in the sense that Samsung is pre-caving to Apple demands ... but I'm kinda glad at the specific result in this case.

Re:That sucks in principle, but I'm ok with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40768699)

This isn't just phones, this is local search everywhere on a computing device.

Workaround (4, Informative)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#40768603)

They (Samsung) should just implement an enabling code (like an easter egg), that is supposed to be secret, but "accidentally" ends up in the open. Entering this code on your phone will then enable all features owned by Apple. With this workaround, all Apple can do is blame the individual users. Btw, this is the same technique that has been used successfully by DVD player manufacturers for circumventing region-code restrictions enforced by trading authorities.

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