Local search allowed users to look up content and contact details stored on the phone through a unified search interface. Apple sued Samsung over its use of local search, and in July won a temporary sales ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1.
In response to the injunction, Samsung has removed local search from the Galaxy Nexus, and now it’s stripping local search from the international version of the Galaxy S III. Wireless carriers in the United States have also rolled out updates that remove the feature.
Local search isn’t the first Android phone feature to succumb to Apple patent lawsuits.
In May, HTC removed a data tapping feature from several new phones to avoid an import ban in the US. Data tapping allows the phone to bring up several possible actions when the user taps on certain types of text, such as phone numbers or addresses. HTC worked around Apple’s patent claim by performing a single default action, such as calling a phone number when the user taps on it.
Android phone makers have also tweaked their lock screens in response to Apple patents over slide-to-unlock. In the past, many Android phones used a bar that swiped from left to right to unlock the phone, but now most phones allow the user to swipe in any direction, in some cases from any point on the device.
A bigger battle is yet to come. On Monday, a jury trial between Apple and Samsung kicks off in the United States. In the case, Apple alleges that Samsung ripped off iPhone design concepts.