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We recently received an email notifying us that Samsung had done something both very unusual and slightly worrying! With the OTA update that Galaxy S III owners received they also received two bonuses of an unwanted nature :

  1. Their app drawer was now completely locked to whatever apps were in it when the update came through, and
  2. The press-hold to move app shortcuts around your screen was disabled. You now need to press menu, edit and then move the apps.

My initial thought was this is odd, but I rarely change my app shortcut locations, widgets or app drawer so hadn’t made any chances since the update came through so I went and tried it, our tipster was right! We also checked in with a user of the Galaxy S III 4G and the same affliction was bestowed upon this device, despite the fact that it’s sporting Jellybean.

But WHY?

Let’s be honest, Touchwiz isn’t the prettiest or anywhere near the best launcher out there so why on earth would Samsung do something like this that drives people to others?

Despite the jokes, we did do some investigation into the reasoning behind this change, one source stated “That’s what Google wanted” which by virtue of the fact that the stock Jellybean launcher doesn’t suffer this was immediately confirmed to be unlikely.

We put the question to Samsung directly to find out the reason for this unusual and very unpopular change. After a little convincing that we were serious and required an answer to the question, Ausdroid was told:

Samsung is unable to comment on the changes at this time.

With recent changes being made to Samsung phones to get around recent Apple lawsuits, this change did get me thinking, does Apple or someone else own a patent on an app drawer and home screen customisation that would cause Samsung to introduce these restrictions?

As usual, only time will tell but for those of you wondering how to get around this – Nova Launcher is a great start! We will continue to investigate the reasoning behind the change and advise as soon as we can get some answers beyond what Samsung has already provided.