Windows Phone 8.1 will kill the hardware back button, support 10-inch displays

windows phone 8.1

The next major update for Windows Phone will be 8.1, and we’ve heard quite a bit about it already. Today we are learning even more about Windows Phone 8.1, and the news might surprise you. Paul Thurrott reports that an inside source has indicated Microsoft may be removing the requirement for a hardware back button and support for giant 10-inch displays.


Currently the back button is used for a number of things in the OS. It is used to go back to the previous page and to back out of apps. The back button is also used to access the multitasking screen with a long press. It is unclear how these actions would be performed if the back button was removed. We assume it would be some sort of gesture, like in Windows 8.


Microsoft is currently working on Windows Phone GDR3 which supports 5 and 6-inch displays, but in Windows Phone 8.1 they could go even bigger. Thurott also reports that it will support 7 to 10-inch displays. That is not a typo, we do mean Windows Phone 8.1. The move to using a phone OS on large screen tablets could further signify the merging of WP and Windows RT.

What do you think of these new rumors? Would you prefer the back button functionality to be replaced by a gesture? Would you like the phone OS to work on big tablets?

  • idlelimey

    I still think WP should just be RT without the desktop. Bring the interface in line with Windows 8 and Windows RT so that users have a consistent experience across devices. Merge the app stores too (as has been rumoured recently).

    Microsoft in prime position to do the impossible – not to just blur the line between device OS’s, but eliminate it altogether!

  • Rishikesh Kulkarni

    Well those who are using Windows Phone 8 are waiting for the next major update which is 8.1 So if this back button rumor is true, What will happen to the existing back button of current phones. Will it have a different function? Or will it function as an multi-tasking button only. I want the 2nd one to be true. Lets see what happens. I am hoping for the best from Microsoft. As you said ‘They have the power to do the impossible’


    I like the ‘back’ button, but let’s see what happens

  • idlelimey

    If they were to introduce charms, perhaps with the same swope in from the right on Windows 8, none of the hardware buttons would be required. I suspect the windows key will always be a requirement though as it is with tablets now.

    I can’t see how this functionality wouldn’t have been leaked aling with the notification centre that has been shown off in recent reports though.

    Wishful thinking on my part.