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Android to be feature-stripped?

Future Android phones could lose features following a patent lawsuit victory by Apple, according to an Intellectual property expert.

The warning follows an Apple courtroom win that provisionally banned sales of the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Ace handsets across much of Europe, although Samsung has until sometime to find a workaround before the injunction kicks in.

Samsung could remove the disputed parts of the smartphones' Android OS to allow new handsets to be distributed through its EU operations base in Holland, where the patents case was heard. The patent that the Dutch court found to be infringed can be worked around, but probably with a certain degradation of the user experience with respect to the photo gallery.

Although Apple has so far concentrated its legal fire on Samsung, with its Galaxy Tab the subject of a separate case in Germany, the patent infringement relates to Android, and could also affect other manufacturers. Apple is already suing Motorola and HTC, but the Samsung case goes beyond Android patent issues and also involves design-related rights. Samsung was unlikely to have to recall handsets. Injunctions don't bind the channel unless a plaintiff has asked the court to extend it to particular resellers, which doesn't seem to be the case here.

The smartphone injunction follows a similar ban by a Diisseldorf court, which barred sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab in Germany ahead of a hearing to decide if its design is borrowed from Apple's iPad.