No conspiracy here

New book takes a look at Stephen Elop at Nokia

US France and India sites affected

More Nokia websites pushing users to Microsoft Mobile

Goodbye Nokia

Nokia to shut down factory in India on November 1

Keep waiting

Windows 10 preview for phones not coming until 2015

Nokia Warranties!

Nokia ordered by Mexican court to cover warranties

Phone and PC OS are one

Windows 10 also the next version of Windows Phone

Here and now

HERE Maps and the future with Microsoft may be changing

Windows Phone apps without the Phone

TV ads promote Windows apps over 'Phone' branding

From Nokia to Microsoft

Microsoft moves the old Lumia UK site to its own portal

From Nokia to Microsoft

Microsoft's new Mobile Devices site goes live

C-C-C-Changes

Windows Phone OS to drop 'Phone' from name, lose Nokia

More Windows Phone Threshold rumors?

Alcatel could release a Windows Phone tablet

Windows Phone vs BlackBerry

UK Windows Phone users may go above BlackBerry's

Windows Phone News

5.8 million Lumia smartphones sold this last quarter

From the Forums

What made you buy Windows Phone in the first place?

Microsoft News

Microsoft 'betrayed' Finland, says Finnish finance minister of layoffs

Rumors

Microsoft's aiming for flagship Windows Phones, killing Nokia X but selling MixRadio

Apps

New Treasure Tag app update ditches the 'Nokia' brand

Microsoft News

Rumor claims 1,000 former Nokia employees in Finland could be laid off by Microsoft

Windows Central News

Are you buying a new Windows Phone soon or waiting for new hardware?

< >
Do we need physical buttons?
155

Could buttons on our Windows Phones be a thing of the past?

Nokia brings up an interesting question. Do smartphones need physical buttons?

We've seen physical buttons on our Windows Phones slowly disappear from the days when they were powered by Windows Mobile. Capacitive buttons replaced physical buttons and physical keyboards are now on-screen. But should it go further?

What remains is a power, volume and camera button. You could make a case where on-screen volume controls could replace the physical volume button and we already have a screen tap feature to capture photos. The power button may be the one physical button we can't live without but BlackBerry's Z10 shows how even that is not needed (they turn on the display by swiping the screen up, no power button).

I think our physical buttons have been scaled back about as far as you can go without hurting the functionality of our Windows Phones. A physical volume keep is convenient to adjust the volume while on the phone. You could create a swipe gesture to adjust the volume but to do so, you'll have to move the phone away from the ear.

Nokia Lumia 920
The Lumia 920 without buttons?

Okay... that might be a little weak but how about the camera button? Could you live without a physical shutter button? It would be awkward for me to not have the ability to have one. Many people half-press the shutter button to lock focus and then compose the image. While you can do just about the same by tapping a select area of the screen to focus on, there's something about doing so with a physical shutter button that's satisfying.

Then again, the Alcatel One Windows Phone has ditched the camera button and Microsoft's new OS update doesn't require it either. Notice the trend, folks?

So what about it? Would a future Windows Phone with only a power button appeal to you? Is three enough or would you like to see more? Maybe bring back the slide out keyboard?

Let us know what you think in the comments and then head over to Conversations Nokia to take their poll.

Source: Conversations Nokia

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

Reader comments

Could buttons on our Windows Phones be a thing of the past?

155 Comments

You don't have to get rid of them, to get rid of them. think- black polycarb that just has capacitive sensor behind it. Slide up the spine for volume, tap or detect photo type hand grip for photo.

True, though I would trust a physical button more than capacitive sensors, especially for volume--I need to be able to actually find the volume area during a call so that I don't get frustrated just rubbing the side of my phone, hoping the volume would go down.
Perhaps add a groove, so that the sensor locations are easier to find?  My 2 cents.

You make a great point. Some people talk louder than others i'm always using the volume button on calls. to me , if i had to remove the phone from my ear to a point where i can use the volume button on screen. No thanks I could miss something being said, or worse hey hold on while i turn the down the volume...

That is a terrible idea. Just think of all the accidental activations of such buttons while simply holding the phone. Those located on the sides of the phone definitely have to be physical to avoid random clicks.

Those on the front of the phone are good as long ad the body of the phone has a proper shape and the response area is correctly set. I constantly activated Bing by accident when using a Mozart, and very rarely on Lumias.

It would depend on the execution, but I have to agree with Tomasz and others on this. I had a HTC Dash with a 'touch (volume) strip' on the side. While it was a novel idea, it was also the most irritating thing about the phone. I just settled on turning the volume to max and then deactivating the strip afterwords. I still loved the phone though.

Just because 1 team of engineers did a poor implementation, doesn't mean a robust and well tested one wouldn't be awesome. Off the top of my head, the left side of the Lumia could wait for x-fingers detected, unlocking the right side 'action buttons...your comment is the equivalent of crying foul for thinking you can unlock a phone using a touch screen...."it will just unlock in my pocket"

One engineer is more than enough to tell that your idea is bad. Putting four fingers on the left side should cause the right side to become a touch screen? So where the frack should I put my thumb to hold the phone and avoid "pushing" the virtual buttons? And when I look at the phone while holding it below my head in front of me - how can I avoid my palm touching the power and camera buttons? Cause that what happens when you hold your phone in the palm of your hand- the buttons on the side are constantly being touched, but not pressed. And you don't have to worry about your thumb placement. And lefties can use the same phones just as good, putting their four fingers on the buttons without pressing them. Have you given any thought to this at all? It seems you didn't, and just decided to claim that a team of uberengineers can eat a cake and still have a cake.

I guess you missed the first six words of my post that said, "It would depend on the execution". In response to your 'it would just unlock in my pocket', that's what the proximity sensor (is that the correct sensor?) is for. Chill.

I think he was talking to me. Anyway: putting touch-sensitive buttons in areas which are constantly and randomly being touched - that is just ridiculous.

I like them for things you want quick access to - volume, camera, power. They dont bother me being there.

Yeah, what is so wrong with buttons? Bring back the scroll wheel and stylus, too. Function over form!!!

The stylus never went away... You can get them for all devices. The key difference is that you don't get one bundled in the box. In some countries they aren't even bundling headphones or USB to power adaptors!

I think the three buttons on the Lumias are the essential. 

And removing the dedicated camera button would be really stupid, specially when it's something Android and iPhone users praise about the Lumias.

They praise windows phones in general for this. I hear it all the time with Dell Venue Pro, HD7, Radar, Titan 2, Nokia 900 and 8X. All the Android / iPhone users love the camera button.

Totally agrees!!
I don't see why need to do the design to be seamless for nothing...usability shud co-exists with design, looks with the balance of practical functionality. I love my camera button, cos i dont hav to unlock > flick the screen > look for the camera icon > tap.

why the hassle? N there's always a delay on tap  focus shoot, compare to button which can pre-focus(lightly press) n then snap instantly as u press full.

I often hold the camera button down deliberately when taking it out of my pocket to get a quick shot of something, it is definitely a big advantage to be able to jump straight into the camera function before I've even started to line the shot up.

no we need buttons of some kind for oh shit moments where we need to put the phone in a reload stasis. 

Have you ever read about the Nokia Aeon concept device from a few years back, this was all based around a new haptic feedback system and nano tech stuff Nokia were developing for touch screens...think hapticos might have been the name for the haptic stuff?

Losing the dedicated shutter button on Windows Phones would really put a dent into the "Smoked by a Windows Phone" campaign...

Don't know about you guys, I actually miss the dumb phone physical "hangup" button. I want to hangup the phone without having to look at the screen.

+1000.  I was going to say the exact same thing.  Have been on WP for over two years now and I still find it awkward to hang up the phone, especially when driving.

I had a problem with the proximity sensor on my first 920 - it kept the screen off the entire call. A physical hang up button would have helped tremendously since I couldn't use the screen.

You will take my camera button over my dead body!  I can pull my phone out and be ready to take a picture in under 2 seconds without having to look at it.  This is important when I want to capture moments with my children.  They may stay still for a few seconds, but then it's lost.

I listen to music / books every day, the physical volume control means I can easily adjust the volume without taking my phone out of my pocket. It's easy to find and press a mechanical button. I would be put off buying a phone if it had no physical buttons.

My new XTS Cadillac has no buttons for the radio, AC / Heat. On my phone I want them. Especially the camera button. That's the key feature people tell me they like when the play with my windows phone. I've had a lot of iPhone and Android users tell me for that alone they'd consider a W8 on their next upgrade. Myself I'd like to go a step further and get physical buttons across the bottom. I've hit the Bing icon a million times when gaming.

Or the bing button should at least deactivate when you are in certain apps. Really frustrating as I hit it by accident all the time too.

I do miss the slide out keyboard of my Pre 3. I was able to type much faster and accurately. I could live without the camera button, but think the volume button is essential so you do not need to turn on the screen to adjust the volume or move it from your ear if you happen to be on a call.

I need a volume rocker in addition to the power button. I think I need the camera button too in order to quickly wake the phone and snap a shot.

ONLY the touch sensitive buttons to having on-screen buttons, like the nexus 4. It is very helpful, and I don't accidentally press it. I need the camera, volume, and power button.

After going through 4 l900s because of bad capacitive buttons, and accidental touches when playing games, I'd prefer more physical buttons.

All the other practical reasons to keep the physical keys aside and mentioned above already, what about soft/hard reset scenarios?  How would you do that without physical buttons or some kind of reset button?

I'd actually prefer physical buttons to capacitive ones, at least for the Back/Home/Search buttons. Having used an iPod Touch & iPhone for ages, I adopted a certain style for typing quickly on the virtual keyboard, which is difficult to do without pressing a capacitive button on WP (or Android). I'm trying to find another style on my WP8 device, but old habits die hard. I've also found myself accidentally triggering them when playing games... it's a little annoying.

For that reason, I'm still fond of my Lumia 710 - although I do wish the buttons were a bit bigger and sleeker looking.

Likewise, I prefer hardware buttons for volume controls and camera shutter.

+10000. I still bring out my wm6 phone on occasion. I can view and respond to email quickly and hardly have a smudge on my touch screen.

I agree that the remaining buttons should stay, especially if your primary usage is music and taking photos.

How about you give us PHYSICAL buttons that you can press, and not touch sensitive capacitive CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Buttons on my 920 is just what I want and need. Perfect placement and functions, especially the camera button.
Do not touch my camera button Nokia, don't you dare...

I don't understand this at all. Why is getting rid of buttons even a goal in the first place? The buttons are there to make things more convenient. If a button serves no purpose then fine, get rid of it. But I don't see why we should get rid of buttons just for the sake of getting rid of buttons.
 
And I can't see how swiping up and down to adjust volume will ever be as easy or convenient as having a volume rocker that you can feel and adjust without even looking at the phone.

Moar buttons!! I miss the shape of my old Nokia N95.. A slider phone with a numeric keypad.. A lot of these companies have forgotten the utility of having a tactile experience. You can do things with physical objects without looking. Touchscreen ONLY works with sight.. And lets not forget the visually impaired

Having used both the Lumia 800 and the n9, I have to say that the buttonless interface of the n9 was surprisingly easy to adjust to. After just an hour of the n9, I picked up my Lumia and was immediately frustrated that my app wasn't closing when i swiped down. It really pointed out to me that physical buttons, capacitive or not, aren't as useful was most think.
This does not apply to any of the side buttons... power, volume, camera.

The camera button is the identity of Windows Phone. I take lots of pictures with one hand while driving. Yeah, you shouldn't be taking pictures while driving, but with a WP it's the same as having a phone call. Take the camera button away and its REALLY dangerous driving. You'll need to unlock the screen, fumble through the menus to get to the camera app. All of that will take yours eyes off the road. Once your in the camera app, you then need to balance your phone in your palm while you tap the screen with your thumb. It might be easy with a small phone, but phones seem to just keep getting bigger. Which also brings up one of my biggest gripes. They need to make top of the line WPs  with smaller screens.

Taking a photo whilst driving is a ridiculous argument. Do you know how many people die on roads every year because fools like you insist on using phones in the car. Next you'll be admitting you then upload the photo to Facebook and update your twitter. Idiot.

Camera button can go. I have gotten so used to tapping the screen. It bothers me when someone else hands me their phone to take pic and tapping the screen doesn't do it. Plus, doesn't using the screen help specify the focal point?

then you dont have a dedicated button to turn on the camera without going to the app.  Which is quite useful for me to pull out the phone out of my pocke tand hti the button and you are ready to take the shot.  Instead of taking out, unlocking the phone, finding the app and ready to take pics. 

Dont need to find the app if its pinned to the start menu. Delete the Camera button on the 920 and put the power button where the camera button is so a car clamp holder can grab the phone on both sides without it clamping down on any buttons.

The only reason to take away the physical buttons is for the sake of change.
That fact that's it's a touch screen doesn't and shouldn't mean that EVERYTHING you do will be touch.
A smart design uses the best aspects from each technology.

You'll need at least one physical button to force restart your phone in case something goes wrong. On my Lumia the Volumn Down + Power button worked so well everytime my phone gets stuck on something and becomes non-responsive. I can't imagine what would happen if we lose that ability - we have to run the battery flat?

I do not want the side buttons to dissappear. I already miss having a mute-switch from my Blackberyy/webOS days...even the sparse iPhone has a mute switch!
On screen buttons require more tapping and more looking, they are not very convenient in my opinion.
Now the search/home/back buttons...maybe those could join the screen. Maybe they'd get tapped less or could be hidden in games so they aren't accidently clicked.

I hate the trend of removing buttons.  Manufacturers try to sell it as being clean and sleek and a lot of people buy that line, but really it's just to save them money.  I want seperate buttons for home, search, menu, and back (like older Android).  I want mechanical buttons for volume, hang up, power, and voice commands.  I want a sliding switch to turn the ringer off like iPhone and old Palm.  And finally multi-colored LEDs for notifications front and back.  I want the glass sunk a bit to protect it from impacts and scratches and I want a rubberized plastic all around for durability and a sure grip.  OK I'm getting a bit off track and that may make for a fairly ugly phone, but I don't care I want function not form. 

The "menu" button is stupid and confusing. I'm so glad then WP team didn't adopt it, and reasonably decided that since apps do not necessarily need to have a hidden settings menu, there's no reason to have a fixed button for that mysterious functionality, that can vary from app to app.

I think there is a need for physical buttons for Power, Volumen and in the case for Windows Phone, a dedicated camera button. 
What they can do without is the home, search, and back button on the phone.  They should remove to reduce the amount of wasted bezel and include it as part of the OS like the charms bar for w8.  Swipe up from the buttom and you get the 3 choices in a charms like bar.  The 920 is the size of a 5 inch phone almost, but the screen is 4.5.  Reduce the bezel or increase the screen size.  Keep the physical buttons like power, volume, and camera. 

Switching between apps would be real hassle if the back and start buttons were hidden. Multitasking and even every day usage of checking missed email, calls and messages would be severely crippled. WP would be the slowest phone to get things done and not fastest as it is now.
Do you see why this is a bad idea?

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Having used both Windows Phone and MeeGo, I can say that there's no issue w/ MeeGo's buttonless interface when it comes to multitasking and missed calls.

What prompted this article? Is someone advocating eliminating our physical buttons? I don't know anyone that wants that... What is the benefit? I do actually like the capacitive buttons below the screen, but the rest need to be left alone!

Thanks... I went and voted. I think I was actually a bit upset at the idea that they might do this and couldn't wait to comment!

Please stop that. Is this even meant seriously? You want to increase volume by reaching your phone in your pocket. You swipe the display or what? You want to use camera. How? This 2 level camera button is godsend. You want to have *tactile feedback* on those buttons. And no, vibration is not a tactile feedback when you want to use camera or quickly mute the call in your pocket or change volume. Only thing I can understand is how BB10 is doing unlock. But still, you need physical power button at least.

Change can be good when it results in something better. Change just for the sake of being "cool" or different doesn't fall into this category when it makes a device worse for everyday use.
 
Why on earth do we need to remove the buttons that WP currently uses? What value is there in making it harder to reset the phone, change the volume, or take a quick "in the moment" photo?
 

This would be an incredibly stupid idea. The camera button and volume buttons are perfect the way they are. No camera button means wasting more time in taking pictures and less estability while taking them. Removing the volume buttons is even more stupid as it would make it very hard to change volume without looking at the screen. I actually wish the capacitive buttons of home, bing and back were normal buttons to avoid accidental presses.

Have you actually used a windows phone with normal buttons on the bottom front? On Lumia 710 they force you to use two hands to operate the phone as there is no way of quickly and comfortably pushing the start or back button when holding the phone in one hand. Capacitive screen along with the capacitive buttons underneath let you operate with just your thumb.

Fewer physical buttons? How about MORE physical buttons??!??!?
I'm constantly accidentally brushing the Back or Search buttons by accident and it drives me NUTS!  And I couldn't tell you how many times the voice activation feature of my phone gets activated while the phone is in my pocket.  I'd pay a lot of extra money to be rid of these awful touch-sensitive "buttons" and get real physical buttons that you have to consciously press, and that you can find just by feel.
Moving toward capacitive buttons is one of the worst trends in technology of the last ten years.  Please bring the real buttons back!!!!  Tactile feedback is a good thing.
 

I still use my Zune HD and when I go back to my focus s I wish I can tap the screen to bring the volume controls up

Actually, I want more buttons. Be different, in my opinion. A phone button would be nice. I used to love that on my ooooold windows phone. A button to answer and one to hang up, hehe.

I would prefer for the trio of touch buttons to be physical buttons actually. I accidentally hit them way too often during games.

Sorry, but remove the physical power button, volume buttons and camera buttons, and I boycott your products. In fact, I'd still prefer a physical home button like the iPhones, but can deal with that being capacitive.
I absolutely hate accidently pressing capacitive buttons when using the phone because they have no pressure sensitivity. Such a PITA, and all of the above buttons are things I want to be able to find without looking, and have better control over.

I would love it if the Windows Logo, Search, and Back button were on screen instead of buttons.
That area could hide and that way I wouldn't accidently hit the search button when playing a game. Better yet if developers wanted they could easily use that area for whatever they want. 
If the user wanted to bring up the Windows, Search and Back button they could double tap the physical power button.
Just my thought. 
I personally like some physical buttons since I don't want to unlock my phone/take my phone out of my pocket to turn down the volume. 
 
Just my opinion.
 
-Chris

I'd actually like to see MORE buttons. I'm tired of accidentally hitting Back, Windows or Search. And it's impossible to teach a toddler not to hit them when you set up a game for them to play.

i personally would not want any fewer buttons. Windows phone and especially the 920 promotes photography, having a physical shutter button that you can half press to focus was a huge selling feature for me. i would not want any fewer buttons on my 920. if anything i would consider adding another for wifi on or off
 

Would absolutely not want to lose the existing physical buttons. The camera button is brilliant... One touch photos without even unlocking the screen. Capacitive sucks for things like camera and volume.

Personally, I can't live without a physical power button and volume rocker. I prefer a physical camera button, but I can live without it.

Buttons, capacitive or otherwise, have their own advantages and downsides. I remember when I had a Galaxy S2 and got annoyed when my hand constantly pressed the home button when using it in landscape mode. Physical buttons are alright, but are susceptible to breakage and are a tad difficult to press.

Ugh, seriously, we just need all physical buttons back.
Yeah, capacitive buttons are cool technology! Whooo! Are we done showing off the new but otherwise useless tech? Can we go back to what is actually good now? They are not practical and offer no benefit over a physcal button.
You need physical buttons to 1) feel for buttons quickly while not activating ever damn one by accident, and 2) so that you can operate the phone normally without having to work around the capacative area.
Having buttons on the touchscreen does not solve either of these issues. Replacing volume and camera buttons with capacative sensors would be even more retarded, as explained by many commentors... but that should be common ****ing sense. The novelty of capacitive buttons should be over by now...

Nailed it. People must be insane to actually want capacitive buttons. There's absolutely no benefit...and many downfalls. Would LOVE to see some Nokias with physical back/home/search buttons!!

The downfall of physical buttons is mechanical wear, dust & water - all of which can render the buttons useless.

I can't say I've had an issue with any of these. Dust, maybe, but that's after a very long time, and only if the buttons aren't designed right. I haven't seen any buttons stop working from wear though...I'm sure they can make buttons that last these days.
As for water, I've had my Optimus 7 dropped in a cup of water, surprisingly more than once, and not once has it affected the buttons. It did screw with the speaker and the rest of the phone though...
In the end, they should just focus on making better buttons. I don't see why they can't engineer some dust/water/wear proof buttons, but it seems they're just getting lazy/bored.

I want MORE buttons, not LESS buttons.
 
If it were up to me, back, windows, and home would be buttons. I hate when I touch them by accident.

Before Slacker was an app they used to make a physical device, about the same size as a Zune. There was was a stripe down the device that would sense your finger and you could adjust the volume. It was kinda slick. It was I guess an onscreen scrollbar of sorts tied to a function.

If they remove the capacitive buttons, they would be able to increase the screen size without increasing the overall size of the phone. Then they could have 1080p screens. I know that no one really needs a 1080p screen, but everyone knows that there are a lot of people out there that just want the latest and greatest thing.
iPhone has become a status symbol (it's still a good phone, but there are too many people buying it because of it's name), Android thrives on impressing with stats, HD screens, quad core processors and Blackberry has, to a lesser extent, name brand recognition as well. I personally think that the Live Tiles look awesome, but WP8 needs something to separate itself from the pack. They need to focus on those people with low end Android devices. They see high end Windows Phones with dual core processors and 720/768p screens when pretty much all high end Android phones have moved to quad core. I know I'm rambling so I'll cut myself short and say that eliminating buttons from Windows Phone very well be the start of something awesome.

Maybe MS could start the ball rolling by making a reference phone without physical bottons. Maybe one model of the Surface Phone could be that phone. If people react well to it, I'm sure the WP OEMs would follow suit. And if it becomes widespread enough, I'm sure we will find it implemented in the next iteration of the iPhone which will then be hailed by sycophants as the most innovative phone ever.

No camera button = not my next phone. If its capacitive, ok, but leave a "button" on the edge of the screen. I actually wish the volume rocker would switch to zoom. Makes quick one handed photos possible.

I think we could get rid of the capacitive navigation buttons. But power and camera are convenient and volume is necessary; don't get rid of those.

I wouldn't miss the camera button at all, as I generally just tap the screen. I could do without the power button too. I do like the physical volume rocker though.

I hope the people who want this change design and drive a car that has all touch controls... Then, something could happen to the censors or it'd be so ergonomically unintuitive or something and they'd all crash into each other and that nonsense would stop. :]

I love my camera button, and I wish it was faster. And the other button have their place on windows phone. I hate the fake buttons on some of the android phones and bb10 gestures are time consuming. Soft functions have their place but sometimes you need a dedicated button.

Personally, I like having the remaining physical buttons. But maybe there can be a compromise in the middle. Make the physical buttons act like the "back" "home" and "search" buttons on the bottom of the screen, where thy respond to touch, instead of having to press a physical button. Sort of how the made the buttons for the new Xbox 360s. That would be pretty interesting.

I think they should add a volume button like the Zune HD that brings up the controls for volume and switching to different music and videos. I liked the feature and found it useful, plus it would eliminate accidental activations. It would be nice to move the power button up top, but I'm ok with how it is on the 920, but I think the camera button is a must have, I love not touching the screen on my phone it annoying. Anyway this goes is better than nothing.

I don't use camera or search buttons at all, so I can live without those for sure. If they replace other buttons with swipes and gestures, I will probably adjust to it as well.

I don't see why? I love the camera button... A touch button would be nice but I like that I can feel around for the camera button in my pocket

I like the buttons we have now... I'll take a surface style screen cover/ keyboard that flips down :D

No, no, please keep the buttons. The camera button I might be able to do without but it's a feature I've grown to love since I switched to a Lumia 920!

Could've done a frigging poll too, but whatever.
Yes, I'd like to see a WP8 powered brick with no buttons at all, and I believe many of wpcentral readers would agree.  But that's not necessarily true for *all* WP users. You know, people use their smartphones as audio player and they won't be as happy without at least volume buttons.
So I don't think it would be wise to strip WPs off any buttons.

What if they get rid of the capacitive buttons in favor of on screen buttons? The buttons would be hidden unless you perform a certain gesture on the screen that brings them up. Or, you could have a physical button on the left side of the phone that you would press to bring up the on screen buttons when you need them. The volume and camera buttons would remain. Overall, you are losing two buttons (three capacitive buttons minus the extra physical button on the left side if you went that route).

What about replace the physical button with another capacitive button on the side wall? Or it can put it at the back of the phone; it still accessible with fingers

I absolutely hate this idea...for one, the capacitive back, home and search buttons suck enough as it is...i can't stand all the accidental presses. And there's just something about a nice solid clicking sound, along with not needing to look where you're pressing, that I love. I honestly love to see scroll wheels for sound again (so much quicker to adjust volume, rather than 30 clicks of a friggen button).

For the record, I'm coming from a Lumia 900, and I used to have an Optimus 7. The one and only thing I miss terribly from the Optimus 7 are those excellent physical buttons. I was ok with these capacitive buttons for the first while, but the more I use them, the more I hate them. Bring back them physical buttons!!!

I like the camera button simply for the fast access. Especially when the screen is dark and I need to whip out my phone for an impromptu pic.

Damn... Back is the single most useful button! I hate the iphone implementation of having an arrow at the top of the screen - not only do I have to stretch my hand to use it, but it takes up screen space!

Could not live without volume buttons. If they got rid of them, I would demand an update to make the volume buttons that are attached to earphones functional on WP. Otherwise I'd get an iPhone or Ubuntu phone (if they were available at the time of this hypothetical scenario)
Basically; I seriously HATE on-screen volume control

Personally I like the volume and camera buttons, be interesting if you could add a dual click/push function to the volume down to act as the power button and remove that so you only had 3. People might stuff it up a couple times but I think they'd get used to it. I think you'll always have 1 "real button" especially on sealed devices so you can do resets, or we might end up back at the old reset button you had on your graphic calculator that required a pin/pencil.
What I'd really like to see is MS remove the capacitive keys from the device and in bring in the 8/rt commands. It would be simple swipe in from left edge to go back, swipe down from top to close and return to home screen, swipe in from right to bring up search/home/settings, swipe up from the bottom edge for current screen Options. I make sense as screens get bigger it's harder to use the bottom buttons so moving them to the side where your thumb is helps usability and makes devices smaller. I think this would make navigating WP easier + more "one handed", devices like the 920 require 2 hands (and I don't have tiny hands) a lot of the time to move around the OS. I don't think people would have an issue with it because when you control the screen of a phone your generally not doing it on or from and edge but closer to the centre so you "shouldn't" get missed or incorrect commands.
On this same vein I'd like to see the "home" button removed from Windows tablets the OS rotates who cares what ways up remove the button it's dual functionality with the swipe in from the right tool bar, it may not be as fast as hitting a button but it's "sexier". 

I have sprint's HTC arrrive because it was really the cheapest smart phone with a slide out keyboard, and then I grew to like the windows phone. I think the slide-out keyboard should be brought back

Camera button needs to stay. If it goes, all you'll have is an android phone, well not quite, bit you may as well. All my android buddies are not only jealous that I have a Nokia, they're all like "I want a Nokia, I loved my Nokia" But the thing they love the most is the camera button. Gave my phone to my mate to take a pic last week, locked of course. He looked at me and said " unlock it numb nuts" I said "just hold the camera button cock end" after showing him where it was, his little face was picture in itself, it was like he had found a new technology for the first time. He was so impressed that his exact words were "I'm getting me one of these bad boys" The guy is my best mate but he's an arsehole, the guy is loaded so he went out and bought 920 the next day and is rubbing it in my face, bastard! :) He is now slagging of my my trusty 710, love this phone, had it for a year now and not once whilst playing a game have I all of a sudden ended up looking at the Bing page. Love my back, home and Bing button on the 710. Volume buttons are essential, CAMERA BUTTONS RULE, they have the ability to change a recently new Galaxy user to a 920 lover in one day!

I vote for portrait sliding qwerty for typing paired with big touch screen for browsing web and maps. Nokia - you can do that :) (something like BB Torch 9810)

but BlackBerry's Z10 shows how even that is not
needed (they turn on the display by swiping the
screen up, no power button). Are you joking? Nokia N9 did it first by double tapping the screen to wake it up and then Blackberry copied it even the whole Blackberry 10th is just a copycat of Nokia MeeGo.

"but BlackBerry's Z10 shows how even that is not
needed (they turn on the display by swiping the
creen up, no power button)."

Are you joking?
NOKIA N9 DID iT FIRST by DOUBLE TAPPING THE SCREEN
TO WAKE IT UP AND THEN BLACKBERRY COPIED IT EVEN THE WHOLE BLACKBERRY 10 IS JUST A COPYCAT OF NOKIA MEEGO Os

having used the lumia 920, and having been annoyed by the touch "buttons" on the bottom of the phone. i can say for sure, we still need buttons.  because it was highly annoying, you constantly hit those buttons while browsing, accidently going back or messing up. 

Sum buttons are ok remember all that's made by human hands is not perfect so a no button phone .....that might be something else to go bad

I just wish there was an option to disable the haptic feedback on capacitive buttons. I hate having things vibrate or make a noise when I use them - everything else is completely silent except for a bzzt bzzt when I press a capacitive button

Until they can figure out a way to do a hard reset with capacity buttons, the physical ones will need to stay.  Also, I personally think the volume buttons are perfect for one-handed operation.

That would suck. I normally reach for my phone's volume in my pocket by just feeling the buttons. No good since WP market doesn't have many headphones with volume control. Camera buttons is also good something I use a lot.

I keep going back to, don't we need at least on physical button for resets? Especially hard resets?
Not that we'd need one on a Nokia :)

The camera button is what I learned to love on my Lumia... Wouldn't want to be without it

The only real stand-out bad part of my Zune HD was the lack of physical volume keys. If the wp8 Xbox Music situation ever stops being laughable and starts being useable (not to mention the independent volume level situation), I could see myself being very glad I have physical volume buttons.

My crappy ass android phone does not have a camera button and I hate it. I think I could get by with out the Volume rocker if the alternative is well implemented but I want the power and camera.

As long as Nokia havn´t sovled the Lumia 920 freezing, how would I be able to reset my phone almost once a week, if i didn´t have any buttons ??
Cheers