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Microsoft testing virtual buttons for Windows Phone 8.1: leak

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According to a leaked shot of what appears to be a screen portion of Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft is testing virtual buttons for the next generation of its mobile operating system.

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Thanks to a striking but inconclusive photo from @evleaks, future Windows Phone devices may transition from the well-known capacitive-based setup buttons mandated on every device today to an Android-like virtual setup, which can accommodate varying orientations. This is likely a direct result of the jumbo-fication of smartphones in general, which are better served by being used in landscape mode for certain scenarios. Android has had this functionality since Ice Cream Sandwich in 2011, though some OEMs are still resistant to the change.

Another reason for the change is to give Android OEMs incentive to use identical hardware to create Windows Phone versions of their Android flagships. While Samsung and HTC are ostensibly still parters with Microsoft in the Windows Phone ecosystem, neither have unveiled a brand new design in over a year.

Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows Phone 8.1, known internally as “Blue”, as its BUILD Developer conference in early April.

Sourceevleaks
  • Jonathan Schmitt

    Not a bad choice at all. I had a Windows phone a few years back. I loved the feel of it and that it had a slide down QWERTY keyboard. It felt nice. But my biggest problem with it was that it did not have a back button! Just like iPhones, I hate having to go through a bunch of extra steps to simply go back. This would definitely bring me back in the Windows Phone market (if they got more apps of course :) ).

    • artstate

      Don’t all windows phones have back buttons? It was a requirement since the introduction of Windows phone 7

    • Stephen B Morris

      Maybe he’s referring to Windows Mobile. (Shrugs) Oh well. I like the direction Windows Phone is going. I’m quite sure more Windows Phones would be released by OEMs once they get rid of the licensing fee. Companies love the idea of free. Although I would encourage them to use the money they saved to develop a few apps just to differentiate their products from the rest.

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