Windows Phone 8.1 to remove Back button, support up to 10in displays

Windows Phone 8.1 to remove Back button, support up to 10in displays

Microsoft looks set to drop the requirement for a hardware Back button on Windows Phone 8.1, which is expected to land early next year.

But more significantly in terms of Microsoft's long-term plans for the platform, it's also expected to increase the spectrum of supported screen sizes all the way up to 10in.

So says Microsoft-minded Paul Thurrott, whose WinSupersite is a regular source for news on upcoming developments up Redmond way.

Windows Phone 8.1 is the first major upgrade to WP8, as opposed to the smaller GDR3 release that should be rolling out anytime soon with support for quad-core processors and full HD displays.

And while the latest rumoured WP8.1 inclusions aren't as fundamental as say the long-overdue arrival of a Notification Centre, they're arguably more interesting.

The removal of the Back button (or at least, the removal of the requirement for a Back button) is supposedly because most WP users use the Start button to switch to other apps or activities, rather than retracing their steps in linear fashion via the Back button.

As for the increase in screen size support, while it's tempting to mutter about ridiculous-sized phablets and their ever-expanding footprints, in truth the move is probably more about tablets.

Microsoft is widely reported to be looking at ways of phasing out Windows RT long-term by effectively merging it with Windows Phone, and while it almost certainly won't happen as soon as Windows Phone 8.1, it's certainly a step in that direction.

Thurrott admits that none of this has been confirmed by a second source, but says his insider has proved reliable in the past, and the claims are “too interesting to not discuss”.

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