A number of users are claiming that the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update breaks compatibility with some third-party accessories. The accessories affected are unofficial versions of Samsung’s S-View Flip Cover, a case with a window over the top half of the screen. A working S-View cover will turn the screen on and trigger a special display that shows the time and notifications through its window. In the previous update, Android 4.3, unofficial S-View covers could trigger this special display mode as well, but after the update to 4.4, the phone will only recognize Samsung-made products.
A report by SamMobile says that the official flip cover contains an authentication chip that triggers the special S-View mode. If a phone running the KitKat update does not detect an official Samsung authentication chip, the display changeover never happens, and the third-party smart cover becomes a dumb cover. Apparently, official Samsung cases have always contained the authentication chip, but the authentication was not previously enforced. With the KitKat update, it appears that the Note 3 now requires the presence of the Samsung authentication chip to switch over into S-View mode, which breaks existing third-party smart covers.
Some intrepid users have already figured out ways around the new limitations. One way, of course, is to rip the authentication chip out of a legit S-View case and affix it to a third-party case. The other is a software hack for rooted devices that can supposedly restore compatibility with all cases—attempt that at your own risk.
In a statement given to German website AllAboutSamsung, Samsung recommends that customers use Samsung accessories and denies that the KitKat update has broken anything. Here is a translated version of their statement:
Statement on the use of third-party accessories
To ensure a pleasant and smooth user experience with Samsung products for our customers, we recommend that only original accessories from Samsung should be used. 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 is it 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.
For a problem that “does not exist,” there are a surprising amount of users complaining about it. It’s also strange that the above fixes, like modifying system files or attaching the official ID chip to an official cover, will restore the functionality. It makes sense that Samsung, like Apple, would want to lock down its accessory ecosystem and get revenue from every compatible item sold. However, we would expect some kind of an official accessory program announcement before the launch of the Note 3 and the building (and selling) of many third-party accessories. Causing existing accessories that customers have already purchased to stop functioning doesn’t make much sense, and it will just serve to anger Samsung’s customers and third-party accessory builders.
Samsung has yet to respond to our requests for comment. We will update this article with any reply we receive.
Source : Arstechnica.com