Rumor: Windows Phone 8.1 will kill hardware back button

By on October 10, 2013, 5:30 AM
microsoft, windows phone, rumor, windows phone 8.1, wp8.1, back

Microsoft is preparing a major update to Windows Phone, dubbed Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows Phone 'Blue', which is due to reach devices in 2014. According to well-known Microsoft expert Paul Thurrott, Windows Phone 8.1 might do something radical: kill the hardware back button.

According to Thurrott's source, Windows Phone users aren't fully familiar with the exact function of the back button, and prefer choosing new or previous apps through the Start button and home screen, rather than hitting the back button a number of times. To simplify things, Microsoft will apparently remove the back button from the Windows Phone 8.1 hardware specifications. This will create an iOS-like experience, where if there's a need to go back to the previous screen in an app, a back button will appear on screen.

The choice to remove the back button, if true, is an interesting one, because it provides access to the multitasking interface. While multitasking is said to receive a number of improvements in Windows Phone 8.1, if the back button is removed, Microsoft will need to find a new way to provide access to the app switcher.

Thurrott also indicates that Windows Phone 8.1 may bring support for 7- and 10-inch displays, sizes which are currently supported by Microsoft's ARM-based OS, Windows RT. This will produce an interesting crossover between Windows RT and Windows Phone, and it remains to be seen which one will be favored by OEMs if the rumor is true.

Other features to come in Windows Phone 8.1 may include universal binaries, which would give developers the ability to create a single app that runs on both Windows Phone and Windows RT, and the long-awaited notification center.

While Microsoft busily works on Windows Phone 8.1, the company is also set to shortly release Windows Phone 8 GDR3, which will bring a few minor changes and improvements to the platform. Most notably, GDR3 is said to bring support for 5- and 6-inch displays, as well as 1080p display resolutions, which will pave the way for devices such as Nokia's 6-inch Lumia 1520 smartphone.




User Comments: 15

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1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Hmmm. Do you remember when MS removed the start button in Win 8?... It may have annoyed one or two people.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmmm. Do you remember when MS removed the start button in Win 8?... It may not have annoyed one or two people.
Fixed that for you.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Hmmm. Do you remember when MS removed the start button in Win 8?... It may not have annoyed one or two people.
Fixed that for you.

I was being facetious for a change.

1 person liked this | nismo91 said:

Bing button is the one that has to disappear. if they remove back button, I wont upgrade

OneSpeed said:

Hmmm. Do you remember when MS removed the start button in Win 8?... It may not have annoyed one or two people.
Fixed that for you.

MS might have been fixed, but I still don't have it yet, and it's so annoying. MS is in a state of fixing things. Sometimes, I think they're their worst enemy.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Microsoft loves wasting money on hardware, and alienating their customers over their questionable decisions on software...

First, WP7 phones couldn't get the WP8 update, and now WP8.1 makes the back button useless on devices that supported WP8. But wait! They will add it as an onscreen button? So ah, why not just leave it like it is on devices that already have the damn button, and omit it on future phones.

Also, look at all that space between the bottom of the screen and the bottom of the phone in the thumbnail. That's a lot of space for 3 buttons, and they (potentially) want to make it even more unnecessary? IMO, you only get rid of hardware buttons to make the screen bigger, not the phone.

I hope this rumour isn't true, but if it is, I feel sorry for NOKIA and WP users.

1 person liked this | learninmypc learninmypc said:

Bing should be gone IMO.

gamoniac said:

Bing button is the one that has to disappear. if they remove back button, I wont upgrade

Totally agreed. I keep hitting the Bing button by accident. The back button is the most used one of the three. I hope MS is not going to mess this one up. Please, so some darn research or focus groups before messing with my buttons!

coppersloane coppersloane said:

People are so archaic. It's an effing button.

1 person liked this | learninmypc learninmypc said:

People are so archaic. It's an effing button.

Can you define "effing"? On second thought, don't. I just googled it. Naughty.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

I dont get why MS is removing something that no one asked for them to remove.

1 person liked this | learninmypc learninmypc said:

I dont get why MS is removing something that no one asked for them to remove.

I don't understand why MS does alot of things. I think they should listen to the people buying/using their product & not their so-called experts. I guess thats why linux is popular. I don't have it, but..............

gamoniac said:

People are so archaic. It's an effing button.

Don't you push my button!

tonylukac said:

Sounds like they're a bunch of dumbbells. Sounds more like a dumbphone.

Guest said:

Rubbish. Thurrott has been wrong before, and frankly I think now he likes to get his name out there by stating outrageous things to see how many hits it gets.

Perhaps he should be working at Fox News.

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