Reports surfaced earlier this week saying that the Sprint variant of Samsung Galaxy S3 would be receiving an OTA (over-the-air) update in the coming days. Sprint didn't provide much information about the update other than the fact that it would be a Security Update.

However, now it appears that whether or not the update includes any kind of security fixes, it does bring a change, because of which users of the Sprint Galaxy S3 won't be able to use the Google search bar on the homescreen to find their apps, contacts and other data. Only web-based results return now when we search with that method, Android Central has reported.

According to the report, it's possible to fix the issue and get the universal search feature back by using the Google search bar app from a previous version. For more details, click here for the Android Central forums thread.

The universal search functionality came under scrutiny recently after Apple approached U.S. courts seeking a ban on the Galaxy Nexus for infringing its software patent on universal search. Although a federal appeals court temporarily overturned the preliminary injunction, Apple has time till Thursday to challenge the decision.

Both Google and Samsung have also said that they have been working together on a software patch that would remove the universal search feature from Galaxy Nexus.

The Verge reported last week citing a Google spokesperson, who informed that the update would be rolled out to all Galaxy Nexus devices in the U.S., regardless of carrier. It would essentially dumb down the quick search bar on the Android homescreen, limiting its results to just those from the web. No local searches on the device will be performed at all, taking on-device apps, integrated Gmail, and other search results out of play.

While this OTA software patch is yet to be released for Galaxy Nexus, the Sprint variant of Galaxy S3 seems to be the first device to receive it in a defensive move from Samsung. Given that the company expects to sell 10 million units of Galaxy S3 by the end of July, it's quite obvious that it would try to avoid any potential legal issues that might hamper the device's march in the U.S.

CNET has reported that since the patent row between both companies was limited to the U.S. only at present, owners of Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3 residing in other countries are not likely to lose the universal search feature on their devices.

In the U.S., Samsung Galaxy S3 features Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor while the international models come with the quad-core Exynos 4 chipset including the Korea-bound version, which features the 4G LTE support.

Other key features of the U.S. variants of Galaxy S3 include a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, surrounded by an ultra-thin bezel to maximize the viewing area of the handset, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 4G LTE connectivity, 2GB of RAM, an 8 MP rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP front-facing camera and a 2100 mAh battery.

From the connectivity part, Galaxy S3 comes with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA and WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n. It weighs 4.7 ounces (133.24 grams) and is 8.6 millimeters thin.

Galaxy S3's other features include AllShare Play, Group Cast and Share Shot functions allowing users to share photos with others. Another feature, the S-Beam, allows easy transfer of large files from Galaxy S3 to another device by touching the backs of the two devices.

The much-talked about feature of Galaxy S3 is S Voice, a language recognition technology allowing customers to control applications and services with words instead of touch. The handset also includes camera features like Best Shot to choose the best image from a series when taking a photo.