News of a supposed incompatibility between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and third-party smart covers surfaced on Wednesday, and Samsung has quickly come forward in an attempt to rectify the situation.
Select Galaxy Note 3 models have begun updating to Android 4.4 KitKat in recent weeks, and several early adopters have reported that their third-party accessories such as smart covers have ceased to function since the update. Many of Samsung’s most recent devices include S View functionality: When paired with a smart cover, users can still access information such as the time, missed and incoming calls, and various notifications without having to open their device’s protective cover. Samsung of course has its own branded smart covers, but many third-party manufacturers also market their own versions of smart covers for Samsung devices. The Spigen Slim Armor View smart cover, in particular, has been singled out as an accessory that does not work with the Android 4.4 updated Galaxy Note 3, and many believe that the issue may be deliberate on Samsung’s part. But Samsung has quickly come forward to absolve itself of any wrongdoing in the matter.
The German sector of Samsung spoke to AllAboutSamsung.de on Thursday; explaining that only Samsung accessories can ensure full functionality with Samsung devices, but that there is nothing deliberate that would prevent third- party accessories from working with Samsung devices.
To ensure a pleasant and smooth user experience with Samsung products for our customers, we recommend that only original accessories from Samsung to use. 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 it is 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.
Previously, several sources pointed to evidence that suggested Samsung did have a hand in the third-party accessory incompatibility -- noting October reports that Samsung planned to outfit various accessories as smart covers and wireless chargers with authentication chips, which would make Samsung devices only compatible with Samsung brand accessories. Third-party smart accessories without the chip would reportedly fail to function with Samsung devices. Now, developers are still not quite buying that there is no correlation between the Android 4.4 update and the broken smart covers. It was members of the XDA Developers forum that initially uncovered the issue with third-party accessories. Ever tech-savvy, developers quickly created a fix, which works with rooted devices and the Xposed Framework mod. According to XDA-Developer MohammadAG there is code within the Android 4.4 KitKat update (which was altered to create the fix) that checks for the type of cover. In the event that the cover is not authorized, the S View functionality is disabled.
Samsung has not mentioned whether any action will be taken to remedy this compatibility issue, but third-party accessory manufacturer Spigen has also come forward, having explained to Android Authority that it will still support Samsung Galaxy devices and is currently investigating the issue with the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Until more information is available, owners of Galaxy devices, especially the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, are advised to not purchase third-party smart covers at this time. In addition to the Xposed Framework mod (which should be used with caution and a backed up device), users have discovered a quick remedy: taking the “IC” chip from an official smart cover and putting it into a third-party case. With the help of a phone earphone magnet, third-party smart covers should once again function.
Do you think Samsung is behind the third-party incompatibility issue supposedly brought on by the Android 4.4 KitKat update? Let us know in the comments below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.