Microsoft to no longer require hardware keys on Windows Phone, introducing on-screen buttons a la Nexus?
Microsoft however has not settled on a final decision just yet. If it does, the plan could be to drop the requirement for the back, search and Windows Start keys altogether. The replacement virtual buttons are said to be located on the bottom of the display in a black strip, something definitely reminiscent of Android’s virtual keys. Currently, Microsoft is allegedly testing out compatibility of this new button layout with existing apps.
This of course brings more clarity. Microsoft is not simply “killing” the hardware back button (and all other hardware buttons for that matter). Instead, it might replace them with virtual ones. The move is allegedly dictated by cost as those hardware buttons add up to the bill of materials. Could this also be a move to bring Windows Phone further down in price to match Android? It sounds like one possible reason.
Another interesting suggestion is that Microsoft is doing all those adjustments to lure in HTC as another key partner in addition to Nokia. Sales of HTC Android smartphones have stumbled as it has to fight the behemoth Android phone maker Samsung. We’ve recently heard that HTC is also courted by Amazon, and might have actually agreed to make smartphones for the world’s largest etailer.
Microsoft has been slowly but surely loosing the grip on its tight Windows Phone requirements for phone makers. It first dropped the requirement for a dedicated physical camera key (but most Windows Phones still choose to use it).
source: The Verge
1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1768; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Ohh, lawwwwd! Fine for lower-end phones.
5. pokharkarsaga (Posts: 373; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Why MS copying Nexus onscreen buttons? it will be much better if we have a WP OS with full gesture controls like BB10 & Ubuntu Touch.
7. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1768; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Maybe because it's cheaper to produce.
9. pokharkarsaga (Posts: 373; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Ur saying that there's a price diff between onscreen buttons & gesture control.I don't think so.But Gesture control looks more modern then capacitive & onscreen software buttons.
17. StreetNerd (Posts: 781; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
he is referring to onscreen vs hardware button
but yea... BB10 gesture control is beast
11. NAWF_SIDE (banned) (Posts: 40; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
Not like nexsus...like windows 8 pc........so yeaaaaa
23. brrunopt (Posts: 734; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
they haven't confirmed the use of on-screen buttons , it's just speculation...
24. protozeloz (Posts: 5392; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I know its not confirmed, but this speculation has the on screen button placement like the ones on the nexus
25. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)
On screen buttons were on the n9 first buddy.
2. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1150; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
Good. Love on screen button
and what's with lure HTC??? I don't want Microsoft lure HTC like they did to nokia.
true HTC is having hard time, hope google help them. But not MS.
6. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1768; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
On-screen buttons take up screen space and resolution, which is bad, indeed.
12. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 382; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)
There is another way of looking at it. I think that on screen buttons make one hand navigation easier and make watching videos better. For instance, using a nexus 4 feels like using a 4.4 inch device, but when watching videos, they go away and you get much more space. It can be a win win situation. And for example, the Lumia 1020 can have a 4.8 inch display with little to no change to one hand usage.
14. vincelongman (Posts: 3107; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)
But hardware buttons waste space, increase bezels and phone size.
OEMs should have stereo front speakers instead of the hardware buttons (e.g. Nokia, Samsung...) or empty space (Nexus, Sony, LG...)
31. mafflambo (Posts: 18; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
You think on-screen buttons will change that?
huge bezels are Nokia's trademark
20. papss (unregistered)
The same way they helped moto?
28. tadaa (Posts: 267; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)
they didn't install a trojan to run the company to the ground before they bought them
30. user996 (Posts: 213; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)
actually lenovo is aiming to buy HTC for it's own smartphone line so good luck HTC :D
3. Reality_Check (Posts: 277; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
HTC just needs to get its pricing right. Other than that, they were weak in the battery and update department and that's slowly changing. I wouldn't want HTC to be MS' puppet :/
4. brrunopt (Posts: 734; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
I doubt that , most likely they will implement gesture based actions, like on Windows 8, in a move to bring the OS's closer together (in advance of the final OS merger)
8. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3612; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
No, I hate on screen buttons, they eat up the valuable screens size area making it smaller than actual.
Instead they should come up with a solution with on screen buttons having dedicated area like capacitive buttons while actual screen size remains same when using those on screen buttons. With this type people like would be pleased.
10. papss (unregistered)
I said this already and no one agreed.. i hope they don't go this route..
19. papss (unregistered)
Don't be butt hurt that your Sony phone didn't lead to amazing photos like you were running your mouth before it came out.
15. Beijendorf (Posts: 336; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)
To everyone complaining; dropping a requirement is not the same as forbidding something. Windows Phones will likely still come with them, with the exception of a few low-end or space saving devices.
Microsoft is simply opening the door for innovation by loosening its overly firm grip around its mobile OS. Something people have been asking for since day 1.
16. mottykels (Posts: 373; Member since: 15 May 2013)
much better if they make a assistant menu just like apple and android :)
18. xtroid2k (Posts: 511; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)
Maybe they want to be able to dual boot with android devices. Or have more manufacturers attracted to making WP devices in general. It would be easier for a manufacturer just to load an OS and sell it as a certain device. Smart move. a sony experia windows phone nice
27. freebee269 (Posts: 531; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)
this is it. they want to be able to have oem's manufacture low cost phones for even cheaper and have android oem's to be able to dual boot windows phones on phones that they already have for android. that also lowers cost because they dont have to make a whole new phone. all these other comments about ms copying google is fanboy talk. it's all about business and expanding your brand. ms doesnt care about what android is doing. if it did then it would be more open source like android.
35. Ty_inCA (Posts: 15; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)
Just for the record: I would never buy a Windows Phone without the shutter button. It's my favorite thing about the platform and a big part of the reason I stay on it. Best camera is more than just best lens, and the shutter key is a big part of that.
Hope you are listening, MS and OEMs.
36. bakarock (Posts: 53; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)
I hate that guy who kill meego and symbian. Now, everyone is copying the abandoned OS feature. Screw Nokia.
37. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1361; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
On screen buttons are cool for screens above 4 inches. I am not surprised by this move on Microsoft's part but if they go this way let it be on all new windows smart phones to make everything uniform. People will quickly adjust to it and even come to prefer it.