Microsoft might be finally gearing up to add support for on-screen navigation buttons to Windows Phone, with its upcoming WP8.1 Blue update. It’s still a rumour, but it comes from the very trustworthy @evleaks on Twitter.
Partial Windows Phone "Blue" screenshot. pic.twitter.com/LnV9h0MMKL
— @evleaks (@evleaks) December 14, 2013
Currently, the three buttons – Back, Windows and the Search buttons are capacitive ones, with some phones have the Windows button as a physical one. The problem with these buttons is that sometimes they’re a hit-and-a-miss, they cannot be changed with software updates and add up to manufacturing costs for manufacturers. I personally find them annoying for the fact that I cannot disable haptic feedback, which not only is jarring, but also depletes the battery life faster.
OEMs will still likely have the choice to use capacitive buttons or these virtual ones. It can also help them repurpose their Android phones for Windows Phone without a lot of changes, which can only be good news for WP, for now.