Microsoft may copy Android and include on-screen navigation buttons with Windows Phone 8.1

Even while Microsoft is still testing its much-awaited Windows Phone 8.1 update internally for now

Even while Microsoft is still testing its much-awaited Windows Phone 8.1 update internally for now, a leaked screenshot has hinted at the company mulling on-screen buttons for its upcoming devices.

The screenshot was made public by serial leakster @evleaks on Twitter and shows the back, Windows and search buttons all part of the screen of the Windows Phone 8.1 much like those seen on Android Nexus devices. Currently, with Windows phones, all three of these are capacitive buttons on the handsets.

Microsoft may copy Android and include on-screen navigation buttons with Windows Phone 8.1

On screen navigation may come to Windows Phone 8.1 (Mock up credit: the Verge)

 

This screenshot leak more or less confirms a report by The Verge that had said that Microsoft planned to move to the Android-style of navigation, featuring keys built into the software and not the hardware. One of the reasons cited for this shift was that integrating navigation keys on the software brings down the production costs for manufacturers.

Essentially, this will give handset manufacturers the option to choose between having capacitive buttons and no on screen navigational ones or have on screen navigational buttons baked into the software that allows them to get rid of the capacitive ones. Now, this will ensure that Android device makers may be able to make use of identical hardware to produce Windows Phone handsets.

This fits well with Microsoft’s reported plans of wooing back manufacturers like HTC and Samsung to produce another round of Windows Phone based handsets. Rumours are that Microsoft has been trying to convince manufacturers to load Windows Phone software onto their Android devices and is even looking scrapping Windows Phone license fees to have manufacturers think of this as a lucrative option. 

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