It’s not how Google would have wanted to end one of its best weeks ever.
On the last day of a stellar Google I/O conference, where the search and software giant unveiled a slew of new products including Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, rival Apple successfully blocked the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
That’s the Jelly Bean-capable phone — currently, the only Jelly Bean-capable phone — which Google had been handing out all week to developers.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, based in San Jose, just down the road from Apple’s Cupertino campus, granted Apple the preliminary injunction Friday afternoon in an ongoing patent dispute. It won’t go into effect until Apple posts a $96 million bond, meant to cover damages Samsung would have incurred from lost sales if Koh ultimately rules in favor of the Nexus.
But given how swiftly Apple moved to post the bond that blocked sales of another Samsung product, the Galaxy Tab, earlier this week — indeed, given how much of its considerable war chest Apple has been sinking into this Samsung patent battle — we don’t expect that $96 million hurdle to hold Apple up for long.
So if you were thinking about buying a Galaxy Nexus, currently available in Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) flavor, now would be the time.
The significance of the Galaxy Nexus cannot be overstated. It is the only Android phone on the market that runs pure Android; the phone carriers haven’t put any of their own layers of software (known as “skins”) over it. It was the first phone to launch with Ice Cream Sandwich, and the only one (alongside the Nexus S) that has announced a date for its official Jelly Bean update (mid-July.)
Not if Apple has its way, however. “It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” the Cupertino company said in a statement.
“As we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
Koh’s injunction means she thinks there’s a strong chance Apple will be able to prove its patent-infringing case; it focuses on one patent in particular, covering voice search. That Siri vs. Google Voice Search battle seems about to become even more of a smackdown.