Rumor: Windows Phone 8.1 to ditch back button, increase screen size support past 7-inches

Microsoft guru Paul Thurrott is reporting on some new information regarding the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update aka ‘Blue’. He notes that the info comes from a single source, though he has confidence in the information revealed.

What’s discussed isn’t so much the superficial UI changes or new features but rather core user experience deviations that should cause a stir amongst the Windows Phone faithful.

We won’t recapitulate all of Thurrott’s revelations, but we will highlight a few of the more interesting ones.

  • Universal Binaries – Windows Phone 8.1 looks to have 77% overlap with Windows RT, up from the current 33%.  That will allow developers to more easily (and still optionally) write apps for both platforms going forward. That could have profound implications in the long run for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
  • Multitasking – Though vague it notes that currently Windows Phone “notifications and background processes are a mess” and this will be fixed in 8.1.
  • Back button is going – Probably the biggest surprise is that the Back button will be eliminated from the hardware requirements. Metrics have revealed that users don’t “get” the logic behind it and that they just use the Windows key most of the time.

Other changes mentioned in the article include Microsoft pushing high-end hardware to get those higher profit margins and bigger displays heading into the 7-10 inch range. Right now, the focus is on low end devices including the Lumia 520, but Microsoft is now evidently going to try for that luxury, boundary pushing gear.

Obviously that’s a lot to chew on and it certainly raises some interesting questions. For instance, if Windows Phone runs into the 7-10 inch display range, what does that mean for RT devices? There has been a lot of talk that RT and Windows Phone would merge and those display resolution changes may be the first move into that category.

Old concept for Windows Phone 8.1 Notification tile

We’re not sure how we feel about the back button being phased out—we’re actually big users of it, but we’re very likely in the minority. If accurate, we’ll have to defer to Microsoft’s metrics on this one, much like how they changed the Search key from context-aware to universal for Bing in Windows Phone 7.5.

Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to be announced early in 2014 with a co-launch of new devices from their OEM partners. Details remain mum on all the changes, but a new Notification Center, ‘Cortana’ voice assistant, app-list sorting, actionable-notifications and other new features are reportedly on the list of major new additions.

Head to Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows for the full scoop then come back here to discuss. 

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

574 Comments
  • NNNNNOOOOOooooOOoooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
     
    DARTHVADER.JPG
  • Ditching the back button. Now THATS moving forward!
  • Ahhhhh nice!
  • This sounds completely awful. First why put Windows Phone OS on large screen devices when you have a much more powerful and capable OS in Windows RT that shares an app store with Windows 8. Windows RT has amassed almost as many apps as Windows Phone in a third of the time. It has far more compatibility with Windows 8 than Windows Phone does.
     
    Second why make the back button optional forcing developers to put back buttons in all of their apps and waste on-screen display space on devices with tiny screens. The people who use the start button to go back are noobs who have been trained over the years by iOS. The fact that they haven't learned how to use Windows properly is not a good reason to change something that works well for experienced users.
     
     
     
  • Stole the words right out of my mouth...
  • To be honest, I believe the search button is rather unused not the back button. MS get their facts wrong when some big-shot narrow minded boss forces his own view on things regardless common sense.
    I didn't like their call the 1st time I saw WP7 specifications. Back, Home, Search. Apple's approach with 1 button was smarter and more consistent. Zero hardware buttons had been nice also.
    If the 3 buttons were having customizable functions, having for instance a usefulness with the phone dialing application, used as gaming controller, etc ...it had been something, this way they were just crippling an otherwise nice OS.
    Also for the start screen, tiles are nice, but scrolling through countless tiles with no concept of page or group or anything is becoming an handicap. Tiles are nice as I said, but MS must forget the vertical scrolling and invent pages so the user doesnt swipe once and get completly lost. If they dont, people will get bored quite soon regardless other nice features the OS has.
     
  • I agree, most apps are designed to work using the back button. Indeed they enforced strict guidelines for apps certification regarding the back usage. And apps design was affected by this.
    Search button is the one being useless.
  • Totally agree..
  • I love the back button. I cannot stand iOS because of it's lack of a back button. When anything on-screen is accidently pressed, a quick tap on the back button and you're right back where you were.  This is VERY helpful for my 70 year old mother. WP is the only OS she can figure out, and this is one of the reasons for it.
  • I also like the back button.
  • We don't know all the details yet, but there's a few things we can suspect:
     
    1. They've mentioned merging RT and Windows Phone, so allowing 7+ inch devices is probably related to that.
    2. If the back button is going, we can be sure they will have a fallback in place. There are many apps that don't function well without it (e.g. Foursquare). I imagine something like an extension of the global taskbar might be used. Also don't forget that sources say they're removing the requirement, so it's not clear yet if that means hardware providers can still include it.
  • They had to have considered that a lot of apps rely on the back button and will have some sort of work around that hopefullt doesn't involve everyone recompling their apps. 
    I'm guessing they're going to use the back button to open some sort of charms menu. Swiping from the sides wouldn't work very well on a lot phones with a cases.
  • Don't ignore the possibility that their intent would be to replace the softkey with a software solution that would appear the same to apps, to make sure none of them break. I'd guess this has to do with Windows Phone 9 anyway, and is merely transitional in nature.
  • Yes yes yes yes. I'm actually frightened. I have no idea how reliable this information could be but lets hope very unreliable... What a ridiculous notion "users don't get it" I bet they use it all the time to hide the keyboard and to go backwards a step within an app or with an "oops" moment. Grr this is ridiculous I really hope this doesn't happen. I use the back button as a selling point for my friends!!
  • My wife and I both have Lumia 822s and when I have to use her phone, I find myself backing up through all of the functions and apps that she has used through the last few days. Closing background apps with the "X" will simply this.
  • The article says they might be merging wp8 and RT. So, the new os should be just as powerful as RT and will be able to run the wp apps. This will raise the number of apps available significantly. I don't know about the back button. Maybe they will use a double tap like ios for the multitasking and introduce a swipe motion to go back like on ie11.
  • Agree!!
  • > The fact that they haven't learned how to use Windows properly is not a good reason to change something that works well for experienced users. As a software developer, I would completely disagree. The fact that most users cannot figure it out is exactly why it should change. We have all learned it from experience, but it's clearly not intuitive enough to figure out. If the reasoning is true, then Microsoft will simplify the phones by removing the button. After all, how many people know that to close an application, you must hold down back? And, short of it closing, particularly with GPS, it's killing your battery.
  • As another software developer, unless it's doing something (like GPS or music) in the background, it isn't touching your battery. (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/ff817008%28...)
  • Agreed 10000000%
  • This Back button thing will generate another uproar like what MS did to W8 by removing the Start button.  Millions WP users who are just getting used to the WP navigation now will have to be retrained.  The 170K apps would have to be updated with a Back button inside the apps, like WMpoweruser.com, starting from WPC.  It would be easier to add a Back button on the RT tablets to enhance the navigation for RT.
  • Swipe from left border to the right sounds great as a replacement to back button. It works nicely in Blackeberry 10 and I missed it when I came to WP
  • Actually, my guess is they are trying to bring RT and WP together.  Windows devices have only a start button.  That's all we should have, too.  Bring on the charms!
  • Also the fact that they're adding "X to close" to the multitasking screen in GDR3 pretty much ends the need for a back button.
  • You do realize that you have to use the back button to get to the multitasking screen. Currently anyway.
  • Also going back a page in IE guess WP IE11 will get a redo also
  • Taking bad design cues from Windows 8. How are hidden menus that require two steps to activate a command better than a visible dedicated button that works in one step? Hidden menus like the charms are a terrible idea because many users forget they are there or never discover them. Instead of tapping a button to search or change apps I now have to slide and tap. That is not a user experience improvement of any kind.
  • I agree... the charms are horrible, because you never know if there is anything app-specific in there without sliding it open to look.  The WP ... menu is so clever.
  • If they move to charms (which I could see them doing), that would be a way to get to that screen.
  • The problem I have with charms is that they seem to create competing gestures. For example, sometimes I just want to swipe to the right in an app but I accidentally bring up the charms bar. This seems to against their own design guidelines. Watch the YouTube video "from lazy to metro" by lazyworm.
  • Happens all of the time to me, too. I'd like to see more of WP's UI moving to Win, but it seems like we're heading in the other direction instead.
  • Wat are serious wp on tablet ?? Go away android fanboy
  • Do you even own a Win tablet?
  • Please Vote with me
    http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4559384-don-t-remove-the-back-button-
  • A charm bar would be awesome.
  •  Very true. I hope that this report about the back button is wrong. I use it all the time and would really miss it... unless they do something like a double-tap of the home button for multi-tasking and a long press to bring up Cortana.
  • Well, tap-and-hold the windows logo button should be configured to do that trick. That would be more intuitive.
  • If they're going to use tap & hold on the logo to call up Cortana (since it calls up TellMe right now), i don't think that would work. Double tapping the logo isn't intuitive either, as demonstrated by using my wife's iphone.
     
    I don't think charms would be the best idea, I just think that's what they'll do.
  • tap & hold on search can bring up Cortana.
  • Unless they are planning on more swipe gestures in order WP 8.1 to be a more unified experience. I wouldn't mind they getting rid of all the buttons except the windows button as long as its done correctly.
  • And rename it iWindows.
  • Go play with a HTC One. You tape a button it does one thing, double tap it does something elsewhere, hold it and something else. So you get 3 options out of one button. Very smoothly I'll add.
  • double click like on ios would work.
  • I was about to say the same thing. For a tablet, a back button doesn't make a whole lot of sense but on a phone it clearly has a place.  However, I do see Microsoft's point.  When I pick up my wife's phone, I'm hitting the back button forever it seems like.  She's definitely one that hits the 'Start' button.
  • I love the back button! I use it all the time. :(
  • Your wife and my wife would be good friends. I'm still trying to figure out how she has 3 or 4 different instances of Mail or SMS open at the same time.
  • LMAO.... I know righ!! The multiple instances of messaging just floors me.
  • If you open messaging via a banner it opens up a new instance, so it isn't your wives' fault, rather its the fault of the OS.
  • But I like the back button for going back.
  • How are we going to get to the multi-tasking screen if long pressing the Windows button brings up voice commands?
     
    Looks like MS might finally be forced to add a "swipe left" screen...
  • No it doesn't, how do you get to the list of open apps without the back button?
    Also if the requirement is not there the user experience will be different for what was a common function. Now some phones will have it some won't? What a poor decision! What problem are they trying to solve here and couldn't they be better spending their efforts on higher value items? If this is to help bring WP and Windows RT together how does RT provide the open apps list? Would that even be workable on WP?
  • It was ridiculous that RT did not share the same eco-system in the first place! As for the back button didn't make much sense without a forward button I am sure it was on everyones minds to put a forward button in IE, but that would conflict the very existence of a hardware back button and the exclusion of a forward one. Browsing a webpage without a forward button is just crazy, because there has always been one even crazier on WP how the back button works with IE you have to get used to opening always opening new tabs.. It is those errogant decisions that users have to suffer for. That said I heavily use the back button going back and forth through apps and ending unwanted task, it's ashame that many can't wrap their heads around that. ^^
  • You don't need a forward button in apps. The browser is the only legitimate scenario, and it's not all THAT common in everyday use, at least when compared to the Back button.
  • Page or flip ahead, back like in Windows8 IE metro.
  • I'd really rather avoid that altogether. Of all of the things I like about Windows 8, I care nothing for the Charms, though that likely has something to do with the fact that I use it on a mouse-and-keyboard desktop. Windows Phone already uses the swipe-left to get to the apps list anyway, and I'd abhor having to do that to open Bing (they didn't mention removal of the Search button, so we'll see on that).
  • Yes but on larger devices there is enough screen real estate for digital back buttons within apps. Phones are small.
  • Not only that....PLEASE MS, BRING MIRACAST (or WiDi if ever on intel) AND WIFI DIRECT PLEASE.....Y u no bring wifi direct?!
  • Lol let's all just press the back button continuously for the next 30 min to show our support for the back button
  • My thumb is sore, but I got'r done.
  • Awesome
  • Hold back" + double tap back" to close open pages
  • Or press the back button
  • Wow, never knew about double-back to close... My new favorite feature! Too bad it will be short lived... Errrr!
  • How is that a move forward. It is a pretty usefull button since the start button won't close an app and you have to use the back button for multitasking too. Can't imagine a windows phone with only a start and search button. And if they really want to eliminate a button, why don't they ditch the search button? I hardly ever used it since you can dieectly search in the IE adress bar...
  • I agree; the seach button is the most pointless button which I only ever press by mistake & it is so annoying!
    I hope Microsoft can release a software update to disable it lol.
  • Fingers crossed for a way to disable the search button... I hate it! I'm always pressing it with my palm and never use it for searching. If it searched inside the app i was using Id use it all the time. But it doesn't... Ditch it.
  • +1, I always press the search button by accident, and I hate it.
  • I think he's trolling.
    The back button is one of the strongest point of WP that makes it able to compete with iOS.
  • Stop it, silly! lol
  • Hahaha
  • Making a system for an elephant or to put a man on the moon with a commodore driven rocket? I like and would like to choose Microsoft for the last option. After I updated the ipad 2 with the latest ios it became laggy and pretty much less instead of more useful.
  • Then, they'll ask us to use the phone horizontically because that's how the w8 works.
  • I don't know what's more epic. Your comment itself or the fact that the "O's" are running off the page into the ads! lolol!
  • I had the exact same reaction.  Long live the back button!
  • I like the back button. Use it all the time rather than the windows button. Im guessing that its people switching from ios who are used to pressing the central button who maybe dont understand the back button. Another thing im wondering is what happens to existing devices which have the back button- what happens to them in WP 8.1.... assuming they get that update
  • To me the lack of a back button is one of the things that's annoying about iOS. Sure since iOS 7 they have a back gesture now that works in some places, but otherwise apps mostly seem to have an on screen back button in the top left hand corner. Which in my opinion is a waste of space and frustrating because it's actually the furtherest point from your thumb if you're using your phone in your right hand. 
    I guess in the end it depends on what they intend to replace it with... Honestly can't see a gesture like the iOS 7 one working because so many apps rely on side swiping for navigation already.
  • I actually like the idea of on-screen buttons only, maybe with a hard (not capacitive) Start button somewhere, but not on the front wasting space.
  • Opposite here - I prefer having tue hardware buttons on the front. This is a step towards it though I bet.
  • Totally agree. I had to use an iOS device yesterday and was blown away by how poorly designed it is. I use the back button in Windows Phone all the time, especially within apps. For instance, in he WPcentral app I tap on an article, read it, the tap back to get back to the front page of the app. In iOS you'd have to hit the home button and reopen the app. Stupid. Sometimes some apps have digital back buttons, but it is inconsistent and not near your thumb. I seriously don't understand why anyone would buy an Apple product. They're overpriced, incredibly restrictive, and not user friendly. I use the back, Windows, and search buttons on Windows Phone all the time. I would like to see WP adopt Windows 8 gesture controls (especially app switching and app closing swipes), but still want the capacitive buttons. They should make the search button even more useful by adding a long press option like the Windows button, one where a short press allows you to search within an app and a long one takes you to Bing. I've actually never opened IE on my phone by tapping on it. I always just tap search quickly get somewhere online.
  • I agee with you there. I use both the search and back buttons all the time. It's how the OS is designed. I don't really understand why people are so upset about the search button anyway. I do a lot of searching on the net and I find it very convenient to just have to press one button go get to Bing. If it was possible I would like to have a search tile on the start screen.
  • IMO, they won't ditch it right away. They ditch the requirement, but not the implementation, yet. After devices with back buttons became obsolete, then they will removed the implementation altogether.
  • Hope they will use gestures to close an app when we are inside an app. Scroll top to bottom like the windows 8, and that will remove the use of back button and that will even very close to RT 77%
  • Like Windows 8, they removed the start button On WP 8.1, they removed the back button..... WTF IS THE DEAL WITH MICROSOFT REMOVING USEFUL BUTTONS?!?!?!?!?
  • Start button was so Vista.
  • Isn't this just a way to make HTC happy so that they can use the One's hardware? Android dropped the 3 button requirement last year for a contextual / on screen button, and this is pretty much the same thing.
     
    Really this is Microsoft's way of making it very hard for Android phone makers to not make Windows Phones. They get to leverage their existing manufacturing to achieve much better scale.
  • Then how do we go to a previous page in IE, or shuffle between apps as we can with a long press? There must be some change to how these functions are handled on the touch screen.
  • I love the back button!!! Everytime I need to do something else (sometimes several different things) with the intention of returning to my main task, I hit the windows button and do my other task/s and simply hit back a few times to close the current task and return to my previous task with ease! How can people 'not get' that!
  • Ditto =[ I USE THE BACK BUTTON ALL THE TIME O_O
  • I like the back button so much that i just hit the back button frm the article just to feel its vibration. Ha!
    So this is what happens. History repeatin itself. Windows 8 removed on-screen start button, people went retarded. Micrsft comes out of lala land, returned the start button in 8.1. WP 8.1 without back button, and again the (may) scream wich makes micrsft bring it back uhm...maybe WP 8 point next?
  • I use the back button all of the time. I use the search button and the windows button. I use the back button the most.
  • The search button is what's useless!
  • NO LUKE! I'm using the back arrow RIGHT NOW!
  • I think they just need to add more gestures a la WebOS...now THAT was intuitive!
  • I use 95% of the time back button 4.5% start and only 0.1 search... Back is useful
  • So what will the back button on my 920 do when AT&T releases this in March 2015?
  • It'll work, it just won't be required to be there and the OS won't be dependent on it.
  • To me it sounds like they are moving towards gestures. At least that's what I'm hoping for.
  • My thoughts exactly. Definitely sounds like navigating apps will be similar to Windows 8/RT, swiping from the left bezel to access running apps and such.
  • Gestures are too confusing IMO
  • And I think it'll complicate one-handed user experience (i.e. having to hit that edge just right)
  • Good point.One of the many reasons I was never interested in the blackberry z10.
  • That is the start of fragmentation as far as user experience is concerned, no?
  • Which begs the question how multitasking is going to work with all new 8.1 devices. Also, most apps use the back button to navigate.  Pretty much all apps need to be updated. 
     
    If this is true it has to be one of the dummest things MS has ever done.
  • Wont be the first dumbest thing though..
  • certainly not ;)
  • My first thoughts exactly
  • iOS gets on OK without an actual hardware back button - why not WP?
  • Because iOS never had one. (Nearly) all WP apps are designed with the back button in mind. 
  • iOS "gets on OK" without a back button just because iOS users just don't know better. The user experience on iOS is actually quite frustrating in general, missing back button being part of the problem. If the app needs the back button, it provides it on screen, you have to search for it, memorize its position app to app because it's just all over the place and usually in the hardest reachable spot, top left corner...
  • Well said. Totally agree.
  • So saying its going isnt quite right then.
    Just because it's not a requirement anymore doesnt mean that it will be dropped. 
  • yeah, and devs would LOVE to see that they have to support different interaction methods for different devices.
  • Daniel - any idea if this is just because RT and WP will be merging? It would make sense for RT devices to not have a back button, but only because of how they multitask - with WP the way it is, the back button is obviously still incredibly important for daily use...
     
    Do you think WP will be that much closer to RT with 8.1, hence this potential change?
  • Back button is always helpful. It will be a great 'miss' if MS drops, I use back button on android to kill the "apps" with mods. Back button is always handy.
  • Hey, Daniel, how about having a wpcentral poll on the back button so that Microsoft can see actual consumer response before they do something stupid?
  • Good idea. Setting the search button to always Bing is exactly the sort of rubbish no-one wants. See also: most of the Xbox One debacle. MS shouldn't try and decide stuff; they're very bad at it.
  • It will dual-boot to Android.
  • Won't they just resort to using Android primarily anyway since users seem to complain about lack of apps. It would be a pretty bad strategy. 
  • GDR2 will be the last update we 920 people get anyway, so it won't matter.
  • lol, nice FUD. Let me guess: you're part of the oppressed AT&T minority in the world...
  • All AT&T customers in the world are oppressed. 
    There are two types of customers in that population, those that are they aware of the oppression and those that are not.  Like many things, there are few who know the truth, so I assume that you're presuming that the AT&T minority are those in the know. 
    I'm happy to be in that minority.  AT&T is failing horribly so far with Windows Phone updates.  Evidenced by AT&T's lack of GDR2 on any device other than the 1020.  It's not FUD when to date it's fact.
  • If you don't know who the fish is in the room, its you.
  • Oppressed minority checking in. Give me the update ATT.
    I actually like the voice and data is very fast, WP voicemail works like it is supposed to. I don't want to talk about texting though. The same a$$ that approves updates must be in charge of coming up with a texting plan. You can either of unlimited txt or none. I barely txt I'm not paying $30 for unlimited. So I pay.20 per mssg or .30 for pictures. Every month I pay for texts overages because push email is apparently not fast enough and people like be limited in characters I guess.
  • Quit your trolling.
    You know you will never get GDR2.
    ;)
  • What? That's not true, why would you say that?
  • I caved and upgraded to a 1020.
  • Nooooo, that is what they want. Now you will have to get the 1520 to get gdr3 :)
  • Noooooooooooo!
  • And in order to get the AT&T WP 8.1 you need to buy the Lumia 1820
    And the "Spring" GRD you need....<sensored secret>
  • @Jas00555 I see what you just did, well played...2015...LOL
  • It will probably still work but going forward it won't be a hardware requirement... Eventually all new phones won't have a back button and most likely be replaced by a virtual one.
  • You will receive a free DIY kit from nokia, so you can take it out
  • It will be a black piece of electrical tape :-p
    All better
  • 2015? Wow that's optimism
  • Hahaha . . . I just got that last part. I'm already irritated just thinking about how long AT&T will take to release this.
  • 2015? At&t? Maybe gdr2 by then lol
  • over optimism doesn't suit you...drop it and go BACK to chynical
    wait...it doesn't work anymore...try charms...swiping left....what? ShutDown...but...zzzzzzapp!
  • Don't worry fella, i spotted the snarky gag. Good lols and all that
  • Hope they will use gestures to close an app when we are inside an app. Scroll top to bottom like the windows 8, and that will remove the use of back button and that will even very close to RT 77%
  • Add to that the option to re-assign the back button on current devices to whatever the heck we want... Calling an app, speed dial, launching a lens etc! Ace :)
  • One don't use back bottom for closing an app (why would I want to close an app? I don't want to involve in that kind of micromanagement, OS takes care of that for me nicely), back button is used to...surprise...going back. Having gestures for that is a problem. Up down gesture conflicts with scrolling, left right gesture conflicts with panorama and pivot switching.
  • Weird I feel like I use the back button all the time
  • Same here
  • So do I. I also don't understand how people "don't get the logic of the back button". What's not to get? You press it and it takes you back a page (whether in IE or some other app).
  • I've seen my gf do it all the time. I get tired of repeating myself so I just let her be...
  • Its so intuitive though. I HATE using my wife's iPhone because I feel that there are so many unnecessary steps to return to what you were doing. I would hate to see the back button go. Its ridiculously convenient. (case and point: just tried to post this but mt 4g kicked. I fixed it, and only had to push the back button to get back here to post it.)
  • It doesn't always work like that. It works for that in IE but for example if you close IE and open it later, the back button no longer takes you to the previous app or home page. At least on my 8X. That's why its not always consistent, so I get why they're removing it.
  • That's only one small example and a software fix but not a reason to completely remove a back button.
    I find the back button more useful than annoying and after time the user gets familiar on how the oS reacts to the back button.
  • It is also annoying when you use a deep link to get into an application and get screwed as far as returning to other parts of that application because so many of them rely on the back stack for navigation.
     
    For example, if I go into the Music app by selecting the currently playing song from the volume drop down, you are unable to navigate the rest of the app or go to another artist. You'd need to go back to the home screen and re-launch the app. Not a problem with the back stack per say, more of a problem with apps relying on it.
     
    That said, I can't see this happening as it will prevent every app on the market from working properly unless they add a gesture that does the same thing.
  • I agree witth you that it is annoying when it's inconsistent like that, but as EvolutionHeavy said, it can be fixed via a software algorithm in a future update. MS would jsut have to make the OS change the way it sees the fuction of the back button. Removing it completely would technically solve the problem, but it seems like a bit of an overreaction.
  • I'm hoping the button is eliminated by replacing it with some kind of gesture, like back in Windows 8 IE is a swipe from left to right. Close apps by dragging top to bottom, etc...
  • Agreed. I've learned to accept the inconsistencies, but the "Back" part of the back button doesn't always work as it would indicate.
  • Im in this camp.  Love the back button.  Sometimes I wish I could just go through and close things, but it would be nice to have both.
  • Me too
  • Same here, I can't imagine living with out it.
  • Me too. They just need to explain how multitasking works. Back to close Windows to leave open. It's not confusing.
  • I use my back button all the time. Especially when using IE. I think that's a stupid idea.
  • Yes.
    Users are not confused about back button behavior. May be Microsoft employees are confuesed but not Windows phone users.
    They should not mess with back button. People don't use it for going to start screen. They use it to go to previous pages in apps.
    AGAIN, DONT MESS WITH THE BACK BUTTON.
  • This is the confusing part of the back button. Go into a website and click on 4 different pages in the website. You hit the back button once and you're back on page 3. You press the Windows button and click on text messages and have a convo with someone. You press the windows key again and go to the web to finish looking at your page 3. If you press the back button to go to page 2 and what happens? It takes you out of the browser!!! THAT'S THE CONFUSING PART PEOPLE. I don't get why a lot of people here ignore that. Most people don't hold the back button to jump back into the browser which causes the back button to take you out of it.
  • Agreed. It doesn't work like a back button a lot of the time.
  • So you just basically run the browser again from the home screen instead of going back to existing instance by using task list and you are "confused" that it does not remember your back stack? That is actually not confusing at all. On wp7 new instance is created, on wp8 app can handle it differently, decision on "forgetting" the back stack is up to the developer. If you want to go back to the app with preserved back stack, you should use task list screen and not run it again from the home screen.
  • With 4-5% World market, how do they really know what people want. I use the back button all the time.
  • I use my back button every time I use my phone. But I guess a windows 8 tablet swipe back on a browser wouldn't be horrible.
  • I always use my back button. O.o
  • Same, what a boneheaded decision
  • +1 I love my back button. But I can see why it would not be required since some devices would be mini tablets at the 7"+ sizes. Still gonna use my back button till the day it dies... Errr... Is removed... jejeje
  • No back button! I'll switch to android! I'll do it man, I'll f*ucking do it!!!
  • Take me with you :'(
  • Lets make our own mobile OS! Call it "RockButtlafunk" YESS!
  • Rockbutt and funk can be all our updates i.em Rockbutt Dafunk, Rockbutt Youfunk, Rockbutt BigFunk etc!
  • http://i.qkme.me/3rg78a.jpg xD
  • It's not censorship to merely add an asterisk. You have to replace the letters like this you f*@% tard. ;)
  • Thats the joke. Ass*hole! Jk
  • Lol
  • WHAT? Don't get logic behind back button? you kidding me right? I mean seriously *facepalm*
    Am I the only one who uses back button ALL THE TIME?
  • Nope I do as well. They're dumbing it down for everyone else.
  • They are "Appleing" it down.
  • I use it constantly
  • I actually rarely even use the home button, but I use the back button all the time
  • Well me 2!!! but the fact is wht are they gonna make d button useful for that is gonna be surprise!!!
  • Relax and to all people. Read the title, its a rumor....
  • I use the back button almost exclusively. I only use the windows button when I want to keep an app open.
  • ^ this
  • Same here that is literally the ONLY time I use it
  • +920 on that. I'd rather lose the windows button than the back one, but I can understand the removal if WP8.1 will get WinRT and WP closer together.
  • Same here mate -- lets hope this rumour doesn't come true!
  • Also me.
  • +1
  • Ditto
  • No!!!! I use the back button constantly!!
  • Back button is key to the current OS because it can't properly multitask like normal Windows.
  • Current OS will look and behave like Win RT so do whatever you please with the back button and I wont tell mommy.
  • just come stable and fix poor image quality from Lumia 720!! Arggggggg
  • No image problems on my 720.
  • I use the backbutton all the time, if people dont understand the logic behidn it, probably because MS made it that way, fix it dont remove it. 
     
    Dont remove it dammit
  • I love you, back button.  I love you.  Can't they just offer an option to disable it for people who don't understand what a left facing arrow means?
  • Would this be a bad time to ask for a forward button?
  • I guess we're in the minority, because I use the back button everyday!
  • Nooooooo! Not the back button! I feel like a 2 legged giraffe when I use an ios device these days. MUST HAVE BACK BUTTON!
  • very true.. back button is so natural for windows phone users.
  • Ha ha. I know exactly what you mean. The sad thing is we're probably going to get a virtual one like ios
  • We will get swipes like WinRT. Don't say the iWord. There is NO I in W!ndows.
  • I don't see the swipes working on small devices. Maybe phablets
  • You mean the "W!nRT", don't you? :-P
  • I feel the same. I always press on the left side when I use an iPhone. They should keep it!
  • Same here
  • Please do not ditch the back button! I try to use the back button on other devices because it feels really natural to have it. I don't love tombstoning because I just want things to close when I want them gone. I don't want them suspended in the background, consuming even a little RAM.
  • No. Don't get rid of the back button. It's a feature. Keep it.
    The "back"lash will be severe. :P
    Seriously, don't get rid of it.
  • Someone start a petition page please!
  • If it changes to line up with Windows 8 swiping, it will be a win.
  • The back button is the most important for me. I would replace the search button with a menu (...) button.
  • Or better yet don't replace anything! If it ain't broke...
  • I'd not replace the search button with a menu button but I do rather see the search button gone instead of the back button.
  • No! I use the search button all the time. So convenient to be able to do a search from anywhere in the OS. (but my favorite is highlighting a word/phrase and hitting the search button to have it automatically search that for me)
  • Agreed!
  • Oh, thanks for the tip. I didn't knew that.
  • I absolutely hate the search button, always hitting it on accident and f*%$ing up whatever it is I'm doing (especially while playing games).  The back button on the otherhand, I use that all the time.
  • I do that all the time :)
    Love my search button. Now I'm glad they are getting rid of the back button after reading vistaus comment
  • I didn't know that! :o Thanks!!
  • I hate the search button. I always accidentally hit it. They should turn it into a forward button...
  • How would go back in existing apps? I find it hard to believe that people are confused by the back button. They use it all the time in their internet browser.
  • Existing apps would be my biggest concern.  If they truly do plan on merging RT and WP then one of the two has to change, but with WP, nearly every app depends on it to navigate back to a previous section of the app.  Nearly every app would have to be rewritten to include navigation within the UI.  I do not see that going smoothly.
  • OS can be coded to override gestures from left in an app and instead used to go back in the screen. So scroll left to right from the edge and see the last app stage.
  • I hardly use the back button. Coming from the iPhone, my instinct makes me want to go to the middle of the phone. And the back button sucks when it comes to open web pages. Back button goes to previously opened pages instead of apps. I know I can close the tab but still it is annoying.
  • Your battery life will improve greatly if you start using the back button. You probably have 50 apps open in the background right meow.
  • Nonsense. Hold the back button down and use the multitasking UI to bounce straight to a previous app instead of a previous website. Easy. I also came from iPhone, and the back button ALONE is reason enough for me to never go back!
  • Obviously you should not use the back button for closing web pages. Sure, if you want to launch a new app, I use the windows button as that is the best choice, apps in the background contrary to some statementents below do not consume significant battery or resources. On the other hand, the back button rules when it comes to in app navigation. The iOS way is annoying for all of us who actually use the back button.
  • Most people I know who use wp don't know anything of back button,they just end up tapping windows logo
  • Preach them!
  • Learn them village folk! Learn then well!
  • <answered>
  • Ever since I read this article, I use the back button more than ever.
  • I personally use the back button 100x (not an exageration) than the windows button... I actually could live completly without the windows button if it did not house the multitasking...
  • The back button houses multitasking.
  • +1
  • How about using similar multitasking in windows 8. Swipe from the left in and bring up all open apps. I personally don't think we need a back button but in IE. and any other app that requires to go back and we should be fine.
  • Only problem I see with that is we already use a left and right swipe to navigate apps.
  • That's a good point.
  • The swipe for multitasking works great on Win 8, but those devices have much larger screens. I think adding that gesture to wp8, with the way the UI is, would be a mess.
  • I guess the back button will not be removed but the way it works would be changed. For example, within an app or IE we can change the screen with a left or right swipe and to switch between the opened apps we would press and hold like how it is done now. And to exit from a active app or screen. So no need to press the X on the app. It will not jump to the next app whereas it will close just that active app.
  • You lost me
  • We will get IE11 so gestures should work like Windows 8.
  • I agree with the back button issue as it pertains to multitasking, not as it pertains to navigating within an app, though.  I don't think it's just a back button issue, though.  The few people I know are definitely more likely to hit the Windows key and find an app they want, instead of using the cards.  It's the same with iOS, though.
  • But how am I able to switch back in some apps that have no button to go back a page/level then?
  • I'm a huge back button user! This makes no sense. Seems like a very idiotic idea...
  • Well I use back button all the time. And reading the comments over here I don't think we are in minority..
  • IOS doesn't have a back button. It works for them. Maybe good thing. Less clitter.
  • Yeah, let's make it more like iOS! (dude, most phones don't have a hardware back button, only Windows Phones and Android phones)
  • Only windows phones and Android phones? Then... doesn't that mean that most phones do have a hardware back button? Only iPhones do not.
  • More clutter, actually, because then the UI in each of the apps has to give you an onscreen way to back up.
  • Good point.
  • No! Not a good thing!! Not a good thing at all. One of the worst things about the iPhone is the lack of hardware buttons. All you can do is go home. That's retarded. Less buttons is not good. More buttons is good. Less buttons is bad. Very bad.
  • Yeah and iOS is really clunky sometimes because of it. I hate having to stretch my finger up to hit some poorly labeled left arrow.
  • Glad I have my back button :)
  • I think they need to get rid of the search button but two buttons would look weird either way. Really one button, the windows one is probably best. Downside is they'd get accused of ripping off apple. Maybe they should keep the back button and just make it an X or something like that.
  • Yeah, search button is the least used my me, NOT the back button. 
  • Yeah, I never use the search button. If I could set DuckDuckGo as search provider for that button then I'd use it more often. But I don't mind seeing the button go.
  • Google fanboy much
  • Yeah, Windows Key can take care of the search function especially once the Cortana thing happens.
  • I use all three buttons and don't want to see any of them go
  • I end up being one of those guys that accidentally uses the back button more than the Windows Button and I pay for it... But I don't want to see it gone! It has uses inside apps as well such as not exiting the Messaging app when you want to back out of a conversation! I feel like the Back Button is as signature of Microsoft than it's logo! Don't you dare touch my search button either!!!
  • What! The back button is perfect. It doesn't get any clearer than a left pointed arrow!
  • I miss contextual search so hard. I'll just end it all if they phase out the back button.
  • I love the back button....what is going on with Microsoft.....sounds like similar story with start button
  • Who the cheesezers doesn't use the back button? It's great. It closes apps, takes me back to previous pages, and lets me switch between open apps easily.
  • You do understand that maybe the UI is changing so the back button isn't needed anymore?
    I love how people just think that they are randomly taking away back button. :D
  • UI may be changing but not all apps have adopted (yet).
  • Apps would need to be redesigned to compensate the lack of a back button
    (IMHO removing it would be a bad idea)
  • And we don't need to piss off developers more than we already have with WP.
  • I will have to make sure when I upgrade to my next phone its has a back button. I use that bad boy daily.
  • Back button being eliminated from hardware requirements doesn't mean that it'll stop working on existing phones. It also doesn't mean that OEMs will stop manufacturing phones with back buttons.
  • Only MS Nokia will drop it, the mf that currently has the most sales by far.
  • I originally had an iPhone, and then moved to Android, and when I had an iPhone again later I hated it. Why? No back button.
  • Another annoying thing with the latest update. The 3 capacitive buttons, I wish they would stay lit when I am using the phone. They are hard to see on the black background, especially in the mornings and evenings. Like right now as I type, they are unlit and it sucks.
  • They stay lit all the time on my 720.
  • BK-one, I don't want to be rude or anything, but the buttons do remain in the same place at all times on the hardware. Do you hit your screen by mistake sometimes with the lights off?
  • WTF!? You've got to be kidding...getting rid of the back button has got the be the worst idea possible! There is literally no reason I can fathom that would make this a good idea.
  • I almost never use the windows button...if the back button was a physical button, I think mine would be wore out. The back button is soooo much better than having to close apps from the multi task process.
  • Heavy user of the back button also. Not really seeing the advantages of removing it.
  • Yes! less buttons the better.
    Bring on the gesture UI of WebOS, Swipe UI, Sailfish etc
  • If they'd implemented webOS (or Sailfish) swipes only then I'm in favor of removing the back button.
  • I constantly use the back button to make sure my apps are closed. I think it's a bad move honestly. Oh and F**k at&t in the poop shooter.
  • So if Back button is out, how do we goin' to access the multitasking view?
  • my guess they should be sliding right to the left side, like how we slide left to see the app list. 
  • That seems to be the most logical way
  • It would be logical, but at the same time, I think that gesture would be too "complicated" for those people who don't understand what a back button is for :P my guess is that the back button will remain. I think what the source missed was the idea that maybe the back button would be replaced, when it comes to closing apps, because that will be fixed with the X.
  • Why do you all cry??? Here is what's in the text:
    "the Back button will be eliminated from the hardware requirements"
    Just don't buy a (new) hardware device that doesn't have a back-button... problem solved!
  • Cry is because it will break ALL the current 130,000+ apps. We only have 170,000 in total.
  • One of the biggest reasons I don't  like IOS is that it doesn't have a back button
  • REALLY? The back button, Microsoft? Who the hell doesn't use the back button? How on Earth does one close apps without the back button? Are they telling me the majority of Windows Phone users are among those idiots who keep tons of apps running? I refuse to believe that... If they want to eliminate a button...how about the useless "search" one? Does anyone use it regularly? I only use it to scan QR codes. Apart from that, it's only there to bother me and open Bing in the most inconvenient of times... But hey...it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft eliminated an important and useful button from their OS...*cofstarbuttononwindowscof*
  • No buttons shall go! I use all three of em.
  • I use search for Bing, Vision, Music and Scout!! That cant go, that needs to be contextual though.
  • I use the backbutton all the time. I would replace the search button with something else as the only time I use it is when i press it by mistake.
  • +720
  • I use the back button all the time. But I can see why it isn't all the important to have.
  • NO!!! I LOVE THE BACK BUTTON. I hardly ever use the start button because I use the back button all the time.
  • Not the back button, but the Search button is the problem on Windows Phone. Who uses that stupid button for bing..
  • Not me, that's for sure.
  • I do actually, its much handier than navigating to Bing or google on ie
  • I do, always! Fastest way to search the internet!
  • I use the back button all the time, but know others who just use the Windows button. I'll miss it if it goes...
  • Finally! I use the back button because I have to not because I want to! 
  • Oh my god... This will definitely break app compatibility which is a really, really bad thing as all apps rely on the back button for navigation right now. 170.000+ apps down the drain... #weeps
  • We need to unite on this back button issue and pound their twitter and facebook accounts to let them know that we want the back button to stay on WP.
    Let's get #KeepTheBackButton trending
  • One and done....http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-keep-the-back-button/
  • So without Back button, are they going to implement swipe feature or there will be back button somewhere in the interface like iOS?
  • I'd rather have the swipe feature like Sailfish OS because there you can actually swipe back and forth instead of only back like iOS.
  • What will happen to the existing devices with back buttons then? This seems illogical as I DO USE the back button instead of the home button as I don't like to see apps running and that may consume battery I guess.
  • no back button can only mean one thing..  charms and side sliding to switch apps !  :)
  • Hopefully this doesn't catch on. I personally use back and search more than home. I like not having to waste screen space on a back button within the app. It makes the app view look nicer. If anything, they should be adding Back to more devices.
  • Screen size shouldn't be related to profit margin. If someone made a high margin WP with a 4" screen that had the same specs/features as one of these hypothetical 7" phones Microsoft wants to push they could charge the same price, and people would buy it.
  • They will change that with forward button..
  • When wp7 was revealed ms said that the core idea behind it was that the phone and the pc/tablet are different experiences and therefore should be designed differently to each experience. This was huge for ms and now they're going in the opposite direction. Poor choice
  • Don't take away my back button.( it's so damn useful.(
  • I think it is obvious that most people don't know what the back button can really do in Windows Phone. Plus it would make Windows Phone work more similarly to Windows 8 as well, since it does not have a back button and handles multi tasking differently than Windows Phone.
     
    I personally use the back button all the time as a multi-tasking feature - and not just by long pressing. I don't think most people realize that Windows Phone treats apps a lot like a web browser - you can literally go back from any point, even the start screen! I use this all the time by clicking on a notification from an app, reading the message or whatever the notification was, and then instantly reopening my last app by pressing the back button. 
     
    It's a lot faster than the android or ios use where you have to open the app switcher to go back or go back to the home screen, but I understand that people don't "get" it since it works completely differently than the back button in android does and it has little explanation surrounding it. I think this is why people complain about multitasking on WP, but in reality it can be incredibly fast to switch between things if you're not stuck in the old "App -> homescree/switcher-> App" cycle. 
     
    One more example of how Windows Phone has a lot of differences that work better, but fail to catch on because people don't seem to "get" it or it's not properly explained to them.
     
  • Humans are retards. If it doesnt make sense they dont wanna learn. Bugs the life outta me
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • Please keep the back button for "legacy" wp8 devices.
  • Sorry!  They are going to come to your home and remove it off of your phone.
  • "Metrics have revealed [bullsh*t]"
    Take a poll with WP8 users and the majority will tell you how useful the Back button is. Heck, I use the Search button often but if they had to choose between getting rid of the Back or Search button, I (and I'm sure the majroity) would sacrifice the Search instead of the Back.
  • Idk, I love my search button too.
    How the hell are we going to multitask with no back button.
  • I actually love the back button!!?!?! I hate my iphone for not having it
  • You have an iPhone? *backs away cautiously*
  • I don't know how many times I accidentally pressed the back button or search button on accident and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I don't understand why they say users don't use it or get it if they've obviously pressed it at some point.
    I sometimes press it when I don't need it so % wise it should be up there.
  • DONT remove back button god nammit. Damm damm Hoover damm that's sone disturbing news.
  • I think removing the back button is a huge mistake. Don't change how it works. People are use to it, don't make people relearn. Consistency is very important here.
  • "Back button is going – Probably the biggest surprise is that the Back button will be eliminated from the hardware requirements. Metrics have revealed that users don’t “get” the logic behind it and that they just use the Windows key most of the time."
    One of the most retarded things I've ever heard. Are they going to get rid of the back button in internet explorer? Reverse gears in cars? Getting rid of the back button will cement the notion that Microsoft is half full of idiots running things.
  • It's going to get replaced by virtual one. There will still be a back button in theory...
    Call will still go in reverse
  • Judging by the amount of stupid decisions in the later years I think it is safe to assume that Microsoft IS filled with idiots running things.
    It's one stupid decision after another...
  • I bet the reality is all physical buttons are being eliminated from the requirement in order to support extremely low end devices and that if there are no phyiscal buttons they will be presented by the OS as soft buttons.
  • Which person or group in Microsoft did this backdoor thinking about the back button? I would like to show him the backdoor
  • A change in OS requirements doesn't mean the OS still won't have said functionality - at least not short term. Changing the hardware requirements so a back button is no longer needed simply means devices going forward won't need a back button. This in no way says that our existing back buttons will cease to exist.
    This is likely a move to start moving towards a Windows Phone/Windows RT combined world. The two choices were to remove the back button (and likely the search button too) or add them to Windows RT. Only one choice, in my opinion, makes sense.
    Things like closing apps will be addressed (in both OSes) by significant efforts to improve the multitasking experience. This is already in the works as revealed in several leaked screenshots.
  • So when I'm done reading the comments here from the wpc app, how would I get back to the list of other stories without the back button? Maybe they should remove the search button and add functionality to the windows key to read my thumbprint while they are at it.
  • So how will we multitask?
  • I use the back button all of the time. In fact the only time o use the home button is when I start some music and then want to go back to the home screen. What a puzzling company they are some..most of the times.
  • Sounds like we need to suggest to Microsoft on their suggestion page and vote to keep the back button.
  • I'll reserve my hostility towards losing a back button once I see their plan to replace the functions it serves. An RT-like approach would be awesome...
  • Oh noooo! Not the Back button!!!!
    Ditching the Back button would be the stupidest thing to do. I use it all the time and I love it. When I have to use an iPad, the absence of a Back button drives me crazy. If they remove the Back button, then I can just as well switch to iPhone or Android :-(
  • we never gonna get GDR2 At&t 920
  • Maybe everybody should push the back button on a set time to send some data to Microsoft? HEADLINE: "WP server crashes after extensive use of the back button"
  • That's cool! Buy seriously I hope they don't get rid of the back button :'(
  • AWESOME IDEA!!! I'm in on that one!
  • Removing the back button would require EVERY app developer to rework their app at least a bit.  What the heck... Here comes the huge gutters at the top and bottom just like iOS to accomodate these buttons that could be on the HARDWARE (standardized).  Micorosft is trashing their original goals left and right with Windows Phone.
  • I just find it hard to believe they would completely get rid of the back button.  I use it several times a day, for both it's normal uses, but largely quickly switching active tasks.  I can't help but think that once GDR3 gets rolling and the back button gains functionality (although I think it's stupid functionality for people stuck in an old concept) that the telemetry will show increased use.
  • I rely on the back button for multitasking using the long press. It will be interesting to see what the new UI does to compensate. Will we be split screening on our phones? Seems difficult on such a small screen.
  • i use back button all the time dont remove it
  • http://soniclipstick.dk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/SW_LukeNo1-011.gif
    How are we suppose to multitask? And go back in an app?how are we suppose to double tab back to close current app? I dont like on screen buttons. Back button is the most tapped area on my phone, only noobs use the windows key.
  • people chill ...they are making both the back button on screen gustures.. they cant kick the backbutton out of the already developed phone..they are trying to unify w8 pro rt n wp8 ...so only the w button...its want we wanted and still want atleast i do
  • I see your point but they are functionally different devices. You wouldn't expect mouse support or Right-Click menus on a phone. A phone sits in one hand (generally) and the UI should reflect that.
  • removing the back button would be a big step "back" for me.  i rely on it, comes so naturally to me.  I'm a former BB user!  Next they'll want to get rid of the search button (which i also use very frequently).  And then they'll be adding a biometric reader to the home button!
  • I like the Back Button, but the problem with it is that it's use is implemented differently depending on the app.  So it can be frustrating to use.  For example, in the native Mail app, if I switch to another folder and then hit the Back Button, it doesn't take me back to the Inbox, it closes out of the app!  That's annoying.  If you hit the Back Button in some apps, it closes the app without warning, while others do warn you in case you didn't want to close the app (good and bad).  If you navigate to an already open app (multi-task via the Back Button), some apps then let you use the Back Button to navigate back within the app to a previous screen, while other apps just close.  So, yes, I think it can be confusing and frustrating to use sometimes.  Overall, when it works well, I like having it there.  If there is a better way, then I will be fine with it going the way of the Start Menu in Windows 8!
  • Most people don't 'get' the back button? Really, does this sound right? So most people click on a news app, click on a story, click home, click on the news app, click on a new story? Every developer will code in a new method to back out of a page (soft button, swipe up or down, shake phone, menu button)?? I chose WP because it wasn't an iPhone.
  • Non-sarcastically I will say YES! One 'Windows' button and 'Swipe' from the right for 'Charms' for other commands would be AMAZING! Just like 'Metro'.
  • Well still its a rumor !! Lets see whts cming in future!
  • I only use my back button . . . Rarely use the home button.
  • This is wrong, just wrong! I am totally addicted to the back button, and hardly ever use the Home button. I use the back button involuntarily, whereas the Home button on purpose. MS is getting this one wrong. But maybe, maybe, that place will be taken by a button that takes you directly to the notification centre and the quick settings.
  • Waow, there's a lot of over-exaggeration of the back button love going on here.  The button doeth not maketh the O-Eth.  
    So we'll move to a closer Win8 dev pattern, it's not that big a deal.  We may get our charms sliding from top like the system tray.  It's a big change yes, but not something that would make me start thinking of jumping to Android like some of the commenters stated.  Relax.
  • What do they mean people don't use the back button?
    How do people close apps and multitask?
    Of course I use the back button, I never leave an app in the background that um not using.
    If the back button is just added on screen when needed, like W8, it means many apps will have to be rewritten.
  • Seriously MS - think about it...removing a back button means more on-screen buttons. On a phone, this wastes extremely valuable space - these aren't desktops with massive displays - we need the screen space, and we need the back button.
     
    If users don't understand the use of the back button (which IMO means those people are simply morons) YOU need to show them how it works.
     
    For your existing user-base who know how to use it, removing it would mean the death of WP. I'm sure I'm not the only one - but the way the back button works on WP is one MAJOR reason why I won't ever want to use Android or iOS. Android's back button doesn't close apps, and iOS is just garbage having to stick with the single button/software buttons for everything.
     
    I hope you guys thought this through - and that the back button hardware-requirement will simply be removed for the larger screened devices - but still a requirement for the small screen devices.
  • I couldn't agree more!
  • I think unless Microsoft can come up with a gesture that does not interfer with the way users interact with their Windows Phones (which I doubt they will) this is going to be a negative for me. I just have a feeling this will be a Start Menu, they'll remove it and then they'll bring it back a year later.
  • I'm a huge back button user
  • i use back button the most! i hope you are wrong!
  • DO NOT take away my back button ❗❕❗
  • Oh forgot this, I'm going to make my own mobile OS.... With hookers.... And Blackjack.... Matter of fact forget the mobile OS....
  • I'm thinking if they remove the back button, then maybe holding the home button will bring up the multitasking and then holding the search button will bring up Crotona ❔❓ Sounds good to me....anybody else think this sounds about right?
  • Maybe the opposite. Don't think they'd move the Speech function from the Windows button.
  • Yea, maybe your right idk
  • Daniel, where is the rumor meter in this article?
  • Think about this app for instance...how would I get back to the main feed without the back button?! I hope Microsoft doesn't mess this up
  • STUPID. They're not going to get rid of the back button. Almost everyone would have to redesign their apps to incorporate a back button in them and we've already pissed developers off enough with porting apps for windows phone. lets not make things more difficult for them. 
  • Actually it wouldn't be that hard because IOS doesn't have a back button and most apps start on IOS so that would actually make their job easier for new apps if we get a similar gesture as IOS to go back, the only thing is current apps will need an update but yea I don't see it as a big deal...
  • How can you get rid of the back button?!
  • Does anyone know if the current phones will be updated too 8.1?
  • Yes all wp8 phones will be updated to 8.1 but not wp7....
  • Great :)
  • I don't know how I feel about that right now.
  • Back button gone.. Its I'll think so.. I loved WP
  • Makes sense, considering the future possibility of RT/WP8 merging into one OS. There are no back buttons on such devices, however not being phones and have touch gestures makes that a none issues. Not to throw Apple into the discussion, but their phone also only has one button. If made to work with the OS properly then its not an issue. I look forward to anything MS does to stir the pot. Can't be stagnate.
  • This is stupid. Apple have just recently introduced a going back gesture, meaning people do use and value the back button, but maybe that is what they will do, introduce a gesture that does the same thing. Android has kept their back button too; I don't see how they got the idea that users don't get it.
  • My first favorite, WebOS, had the gesture area below the screen where you would simply swipe left to go back anywhere in the OS. Now that I’m using WP, we have the back button which accomplishes the same thing. It just seems to me that it’s a good idea to have a consistent way to go back throughout the OS instead of having to search for the back button in each individual app. This is one of the things that drives me nuts when using my wife’s iPhone.
    Leave the back button!
  • I use the back button a lot, and the search button, for that matter; it doesn't mean I couldn't do without them, though, as long as the functionality were appropriately replaced.  In the context of OS convergence, it would seem to make sense.  However, it's important to remember that it's being removed as a requirement.  I'm sure people's existing back buttons will be unaffected.
  • I use the back button to return to something I already opened and use the Windows (home) button to open a new app.  There is no confusion there.
     
    I get the feeling this is a misinterpretation of information.  It would definitely be a step backwards and give Android an advantage.
  • Back button removal = sadness. But I I ly want to know if this 8.1 "blue" update will run on my existing HTC 8X or not...would hate to need a new phone to take advantage of some of these potential features
  • Ditching the back button? Ditch the search one instead.
  • The Search is one of thr most used items. I like having it there.
  • I do use the back button all the time. So how will you get to the multitasker then? Anybody know?
  • I know, but I'm not telling.
  • I use the back button all the time. I do hit the windows key if I need to go to another app. I do this so that I can go back into the app I was viewing.
  • I use the back button to close apps and see which apps I have opened. Don't ditch it
  • That's ridiculous. Everything that doesn't behave like an iPhone is unintuitive?
  • I got the same info from my Nokia sources while back.
    But the info I got was related to the removal of the physical buttons of both "Back" and "Search" and NOT the functions. Back then the Windows Phone team was looking for a solution to integrate both buttons into the OS UI and we discuss the possibility of bringing a version of the Charms Menu from Windows 8 to Windows Phone.
    Hopefully this is still the case and in my opinion it will be a lot better and more functional than it is now.
  • One note they said, they were making it optional. So some manufactures might still keep the back button.
  • Yea, no. I use the back button often. It would take an effort to learn a new way. In with the new, out with the old I guess.
  • http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4557261-do-not-remove-hardware-back-button-
  • Since I don't use RT, how do you jump between running apps in RT? (Assuming that will be how 8.1 will do it)
  • Swipe from your left to right or open the list on the left to see what's currently open swiping an app currently open down closes it pretty easy after a few minutes practise
  • So that would potentially interfere with the rumored notification screen if that were to use the left swipe to open.
  • I don't need notifications personally, but a left swipe to get at a screen full of them seems a lot smarter to me than a live tile for notifications.   I am trying to decide right now if two left swipes, one for open apps and a second for notifications, is tenable.
    Nah.  Just keep the back button.
  • I like how Android has the buttons on the screen. Makes for a sleek looking device.
  • Sounds to me like wp8.1 will be alot more gesture based so probably not as bad as it may sound
  • Please add support for qHD (960x540) this will get some good mid range displays.
    and please bring in more device makers. LG and Sony should join this party
    also added support for notification lights
    imagine the Xperia U style colour changing bar with the live tiles.
  • YES!!! Huge number of this "This F'N thing" issues caused by the back button and the search button.
  • NOOO! Don't remove back button! D:
  • Hope to god the back button stays. Use it all the time!
  • So if that button is no longer functional, what will it do in Windows 8.1?  Will future handsets have just two buttons?  Maybe the 3rd button will be used for searching the internet for porn.
  • I wonder what will happen if I press the back button already on my phone.
  • The back button is the most used button! Do they know what their doing??????
  • I use the back button mainly to navigate through apps, WPcentral's app is a good example of how to design for it (nice job Jay). However IE used it very poorly, and it is a bit annoying to use the back button to close apps or when it does close an app when I didn't mean to. I for one welcome our backless WP overlords.
  • Well, I for one am in favor of keeping the 'BACK" button unless there will be a software back button. Besides isn't the back button an easier way to close out apps?
  • The gf uses the windows button and if i need to use i press the back button closing every app that's ever been opened! I always close everything
  • Same here fella. Really annoys me when the wife has used my phone and 10 apps are still running. Cant believe this news.
  • Awesome! Ditching the backbutton is a wonderful idea! Opens up new possibilities. Gestures... Actually it makes a lot of sense. Why use the backbutton? Its only purpose is to navigate back. Pressing the back button accidentally happens to me a lot! I hate it the way it is. Better let devs implement a software back button.
  • I always use the back button. But that's because the app require me to do it when I want to navigate backward. So if the back button is gone and the apps updated to use virtual back button or gestures, I think I just need to adapt into it. It's that simple :)
  • So what if the dev doesn't update their app then what?
  • If the devs still supporting their apps, high chance are they will update it. If not, they either pulled their app (if they decide to not renew the dev subscription) or we won't have good experiences on it (no update means no bug fixing or whatsoever). So they will update apps that they put their lives to support it.
    Take a good example of iOS7. That overflow status bar is giving a headache for us as developers. And yet we still putting effort to update our apps to comply with it. Live is constantly changes. All we have to do is adapting into it. It's that simple.
  • I think this is good- they need to move away from the capacitive buttons to software buttons (like some Android phones).  There are a few benefits to this, my favorite being larger screens while keeping the phone size down (see Moto X vs HTC One).    
    I still want WP to keep the dedicated camera button!
  • Why not get rid of the useless search button instead, no wants a Bing button its pointless
  • You're using it wrong. The back button "only" takes you back to the previous page or app. Trying to use it when you exited and entered will only work if you entered the app through multi tasking.
  • Noooooo don't get rid of the back button please MS.
  • You can use your Windows button to get into the task manager, but I don't sure with this.
  • I use the back button a lot, but if devs build in software buttons the lack of back would be mehh e.g USA today app, I read an article then go back to main stories column, I don't read go to start then reopen the app so long as there is SW or hw button im all good, don't need both.
  • How about the background picture? Will it come to Windows Phone 8.1 too as it comes to Windows 8.1?
  • WOW, so now all applications will have to add virtual navigation buttons. The navigation stack DEPENDS upon a hardware back button.. this is stupid, I use the back button so much. To remove focus from the keyboard, etc. Especially Navigation in IE.
     
    Horrible decision on microsofts part.
  • Noooooo I use the back button constantly!!!! Why so dumb bs..its a phone not a damn tablet, its operations need to be quick for going back, not going to the start ND reselecting to start from scratch...
  • Glad they are removing back button. Terrible functionality. They need to put close buttons (x buttons) in apps instead of the back button crap. They need to pick up the pace! No wonder windows phone is behind in the race for smartphone king. KEEP UP! Update more often instead of 2-3 times a year. Doesn't cut it. I want to see this phone and its software flourish! C'mon Microsoft!!!!
  • Does that mean the back button will be like iOS and have to be wasting screen real estate? Boo to that. I think it just needs an instructional video for people who aren't so tech savvy. My girlfriend just got a Lumia 925, I showed her what the back button does with all its glory, and now she multitasks like a pro.
  • Yes, the back button just confuses people; no one really needs this.
  • Unless you incorporate swipe to compensate for the back button, the whole UI falls apart. The UI works because you can navigate between apps without lose, unlike the iPhone.
  • It will mean a lot of apps will have to be updated to include a software back button. But having universal binarys for phones/Windows RT will be an advantage.
  • There is no way this is true. If so that means all existing hardware with back button will not run 8.1
  • Wth?! If there thinking of getting rid of a button, get rid of the silly search button that i NEVER use. I use the back button all the time! Id be lost without it.
    Don't make it more like the terrible iphone ui please!
  • You should try the search button, its really useful.
  • They should take the back button, and move it in the middle.  Take out the start button and search button.  Make the back button round without an arrow.  They should add a sensor to it with a glowing round ring around it.  This will be the new back button of the future.
  • That sounds like innovation to me!
  • Hey guys keep calm, it's just a rumor.
  • I use the back button all the time....i hope they make this optional
  • I think I like the back button.
  • So if im playing a game and accidentally hit the search button I have to go back into games hub find the game and launch it again? I just hit the back button now and im back in the game.
  • That's my thoughts too. Maybe the Windows key will have more functions. Or with a 7" screen I guess the assumption is that you have everything pinned to your home screen.
  • If they are really merging with RT then I'm excited to see the Search button used for everything on the device as well Bing.
  • That's nice, it's the best publicity for the Windows ecosystem.
  • Not a fan of dumbing things down to suit the portion of the population without two firing synapses.
  • I use that back button all the time, a lot more than the Windows key. So how will I quickly access the task manager, short of them consuming a ton of on-screen real estate with new tools. And is Windows Phone 8.1 going to be compatible with existing devices? I'm starting to get the sneaking suspicion that at some point we're going to learn that this update is not compatible with existing devices. I have to say, it's difficult to have confidence in Windows Phone when they seem so comfortable with such drastic revisions to user experience. So either they didn't think things through properly the first time, or they're too fickle in their commitment to a consistent user experience. I can only imagine the amount of bloat and inconsistency that could arise with this sort of approach. I welcome significant improvements, but I don't want to see arbitrary changes simply because some manager's grown bored with current functionality.
  • i hope back button is used, and this is more like the removal of the camera button requirement (there was one windows phone that lacked it). Meaning, devices with a back button will use it, while devices without will use an alternative control scheme.
     
    also, no back will severely dissrupt the symetry of a windows phone. itd look weird with the logo in the middle, search on the right, but nothing on the left, and making start left and search right will look lopsided. A windows Phone really needs a back button, if not for function, then for symetry and design.
  • So all hundreds of thousands of WP apps that use the back button as part of internal navigation will no longer work. [Grabs a huge bucket of popcorn to watch this show.]
  • Lol
  • I use the back button all the time too!
  • I don't know how to use my phone without back button.
  • Every app will have to be remade with back buttons put in if it gets taken away, that would be horrible. I quite enjoy having a back button that's always in the same place.
  • So
  • So... This tells me existing WP with the back button are not getting 8.1. Were now the WP 7.8 folks! Why would u update the OS with this function and leave us with a dead button?
  • My thoughts: (1) I use the Back button religiously to close apps and for going back in web pages, emails, and apps, but if 8.1 had an option to close apps by swiping (similar to iOS7 does now), I'm all for it. (2) I am ECSTATIC that RT and WP8.1 could be combining! This would decrease the dearth of first-party apps immensely on both platforms, just like what Google did with its phone/tablet industry during Gingerbread/Honeycomb days. (3) WP and MSFT rock. The end ;)
  • Please remove all the buttons
  • No no...the Windows button is huge. Hold it down, speak to it, get answers. And get to the Start screen easily using that one. As for search? Make it so it is contextual to search in the app you're in, not just Bing.
  • The reason users don't "get it" is because it doesn't work properly. The back button on android is programmed correctly .
  • Don't worry folks, we all know how the Microsoft approach goes. They give you a feature, especially a button, then they take it away. Next version, they bring it back again. I fully expect context search to come back in 8.1 (or a revision thereabouts) because the current search button is pointless. Doubtless they will make the back button only work for the web browser or some useless idea in 8.1. Next version, back it comes... I'm waiting for the forward button to come back. Perhaps they'll just make the back button a forward button in 8.1? Updating Windows is like gambling, the trick us to know when to stop. If GDR3 is best for you, stick. If not, twist. Let's just hope they keep updating WP8 for a while after the new OS is released, like they did for WP7 customers. WP8 GDR 4 or 5 could be the sweet spot I think.
  • I think they are headed in the right direction but I wish they would have done a lot of this from the beginning.
     
  • I actually use the back button a lot. Not just to exit an app but to navigate backwards through apps. Not a fan of losing it.
  • I like the back button.. and bacon.. But what's next? Making us hold the home button while using volume up/ down to scroll?
  • Easily my most used button on the phone!!! Rarely do I use the start button. Very useful while multitasking. Get rid of the Search button which we don't need and implement search into "Long press on start key!! 
  • I HOPE, 8.1 is 100% functional on existing devices. If Microsoft does us like they did us with WP 8 with no backward compatibility and the minor 7.8 consolation(which I never got on my Titan by the way) that would be a terrible blow to the Windows Phone ecosystem. The faithful would begin to lose faith, the industry would eat Microsoft alive, competitors would walk all over us.
    I HOPE 8.1 is not only compatible, but COMPLETELY COMPATIBLE, in that EVERY feature (barring screen resolution specific features- but given the article yesterday assuring us of varying tile sizes arrangements on current devices after GDR3 and Bittersweet that may not even be an issue ) works on current devices including my recently purchased 1020. If Microsoft/Nokia bring their "A" game via the GDR3/Bittersweet update followed with a strong, massive Blue, 8.1, update, that applies to all current devices, fills most if not all of the gaps, and Cortana actually blows everyone's minds as a killer Assistant, Windows Phone may just finally get beyond being perceived as playing in catch-up mode. Hopefully part of Blues postponement is that Microsoft wanted to ensure they were not introducing incremental updates or progress and are actually going to BRING THE PAIN, with this update. If they miss this opportunity iOS and Android, will be able to stand on the sidelines and say, "Is that all you got." Microsoft, from a dedicated Windows fan, from Windows Mobile days, still have my Cingular 2125's(2 of them), Tilt 1, Tilt 2, Titan and now 1020, bring it with 8.1. Blow our minds!
  • I had a thought.. turn it into a "scroll to the bottom of really long comments sections" button :P
  • I love the back button - especially the long press that brings up the last 7 apps. I would really miss that! Hope they don't get rid of it. I have friends who wish their iPhones had back buttons!
  • I use the back button more than the others
  • +1
  • Without having all the data my first reaction is to not like the idea...
     
    The few times I've picked up my girlfriends iPhone I find myself wishing it had a back button ALL THE TIME!!
  • That 'back' is sexy, let it be!! :P
  • No word on other storage clear options? Its so annoying with all these update I haven't heard about them addressing that issue
  • This sounds like a terrible idea. Seriously, how can someone be too stupid to understand what a Back button does? What does the Back button do in every other worldly scenario? IT MAKES YOU GO BACK. I honestly question if it's not some B.S. excuse to help along the Windows Phone and Windows RT merge or whatever. In that case, I'm OK with it, but just tell us that's the case.
  • Wasn't it their metrics that they used as evidence to get rid of the start button in Windows 8 and now with 8.1 they're adding it back...
     
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/10/03/evolving-the-start-menu.aspx
  • The black abyss that will remain after the
  • I can't believe you all think Microsoft just woke up and decided to lose the back button. They use windows phones as well, they know what the back button does. I'm sure they will have an answer to all of the concerns above
  • And what is with current devices which have the back button? Eh Microsoft, what's with us?
  • I use the back button a lot and not just for closing, they should keep this as a requirement and if not I hope the phone manufacturers still implement the back button on their WP devices.
  • Amazing how this type of report produces hundreds if comments, for something that is likely inaccurate and won't happen.
  • I personally will stop getting windows phones if they get rid of the back button thats what makes me mad the most on ios its such a pain..and i like the search button because if you search for a local place it shows the hours its open and the phone njmber and everything with no trouble i love it
  • The search button is great if you know what it does..you search something locally and it brings up the hours, phone number, etc its perfect if ur in a rush to see if stores are open which i find a pain to do through google so.etimes
  • If Microsoft puts the Charms Bar in WPBlue, I'm getting an iPhone. Period.
  • I just love how the picture says 'WP Blue' whilst the theme colour is red
  • NO! the back button on windows phone is more useful than those on Android and IMO increases usability over IOS. They better not get rid of it
  • Well, I think removing the back button would be a big change for me, since it's the button I use the most, I thought my Lumia 710's back button could've got loose back then..haha
  • Maybe they are thinking more like BlackBerry 10 which has zero buttons not even a home button. Everything is gesture based. I loved my experience on my BlackBerry Z10 because everything was gesture based and I loved swiping away. On BB 10 a back icon would populate on the bottome of the screen automatically or you could just swipe back to the previous screen. I only left BB and came back to WP for the apps and ecosystem but the user experience on BlackBerry 10 was the best I have ever experienced on any platform and yet they were able to do it without any buttons whatsoever. With that being said I think the way WP is written requires a back button especially when multitasking. It's going to be interesting to see how this is implemented.
  • Nooo! Please don't take away the back button!!
  • I use the back button a lot, I thought my Lumia 710 physical back button could one day got loose back then
  • MWRGING RT AND WINDOWSPHONE HMMM THEY SHIULDVE DONE THAT FROM THE BEGINNING.. another reason for me to hold on on my LUMIA 900..
    As a matter of fact im currently busy buying a 920 on eBay..peace all
  • I always use the back button but rarely do I use the Start button. It's the same when I'm using my Android (S3) and find that it's an absolute must on a smartphone.
    However, I managed just fine without a dedicated back button for a number of years when using Symbian phones, so I guess that applications will have their own back button built into the application or an "X" button to close.
  • I use the back button consistently. It's an integral part of the WP experience. If the metrics show that people don't "get" the back button, then work on better educating the consumer to the proper use of the WP product. I had to turn on my old iPhone a month or so ago and had two thoughts: why did I ever like the iOS experience and where the "H" is the back button? My daughter feels the same way every time she picks up her iPod.
  • For what it's worth, here's a petition :D
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/345/020/734/keep-the-back-button-on-windows-phone/
     
    I know, I know... this is not the most noble use of a petition, but hey, think of the loss of back button lives. 
  • I like the back button because if you accidently click on an ad instead of scrolling, you can cancel the ad from taking you to a different page on your browser. This is annoying on an iPhone. :P
    more options ARE better however.
  • Everybody voting here: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4559384-don-t-remove-the-back-button
  • That's just crazy, I use back button all the time, not to close apps but to go back a page in apps. Why they want to make our OS like iOS? So ppl wwho used iOS will adopt WinPhone? OK, I get that, but what about us? I'm used to back button, been using it for 3 years now, what I'm suppose to do now? learn a new gesture? I hope at least they add back and forward gesture.
  • I don't get it, how do you use your phone without the back button? Even when not multitasking or using it to force close apps, it's still, for many apps, essential, as they don't have any virtual back button. I also just feel the back button is more convenient. It's always in one place, unlike virtual buttons which can move around at will. Very interesting. I'm looking forward to the other improvements, but lack of the back button? In addition to just not looking right (only two buttons? Eghck), it just seems like too much functionality would be lost. Hopefully Nokia will stay dedicated to it, as I really don't want to lose this functionality.
  • I want the back button to stay! I don't want another ultra simplified OS like iOS, and a software back button takes too much space
  • I love hardware button and vibrate! I hate using software buttons!
  • Looks like almost everyone here uses the back button, including me.  Where the hell is MS getting these metrics?
  • I love my back button. I don't know how I got around iOS without one. With the back button being optional and Microsoft owning Nokia's hardware division, I don't see it sticking around for long.
  • To all of you idiots complaining about multitasking without a back button..........you do know they can easily just implement a new way to get to the multitasking screen and if you actually read the article it did say the back button is not required. Never did they say it would be completely eliminated. Learn to read.
  • So what benefit does it provide by getting rid of the back button? I use it frequently but more than for the back function.. I probably use as often to see my open apps list so I can go t any open app. How do you do that without the back button?
    Isn't this MS working on stuff that isn't broken when they should be allocating expenditure in more valuable areas?
  • Hear hear! Take the search button and spare the back button. I cant believe MS will really get rid of the back button. :(
  • They shouldn't ditch the back button but perhaps change its function a bit. I use it a lot but I'm not keen how it behaves e.g. with IE... Sometimes I wish to browse back, sometimes leave current page open and close the browser.
    Likewise, they should make the Search button more dynamic so you could use it to search in context, not always open Bing.
  • Don't do this even a idiot like me knows this is bad take out the dam search button put a notification button instead they need be smarter then this before they make a decision like this lets all make comment chaos before ruin Windows phone with something simple like this! But here's my idea rather than removing back button remove search button turn it to a settings/multi-button button that leaves buttons on screen to go back and forward or search the disappear instantly when your not using it
  • Nnnnnnnnnooooooooo!!!!! We don't need iPhone
  • I use the back button alot.  If my vote counts, I would like it to remain.    Else we have to start doind like iOS and implement back buttons in apps themselves.
    To much change,  I think they are trying to do it because Windows RT doesn't have a physical back button.  But they need to find a better way to merge RT and Windows Phone without losing the back button.
  • My first reaction was to freak out about the back button, but on second thought it's no big deal.  According to this, the back button will no longer be a requirement.  That doesn't mean it won't be on some handsets and won't still be supported by the OS.  And when you think about it, the only purpose of the back button (as far as functionality) is the ability to kill an app.  This shouldn't ba a problem after GDR3 which allows this functionality through the multitasking interface.
  • No back button?  You're kidding people don't use it or are confused by it?  I have both a Lumina 925 and HTC One and I use the back button more than I use the Win Key and Android Home button.  I have to disagree with that logic.  Let's have an option where the user decides to use or not use the back button.  
  • I like the back button...search can go
  • Leave back button alone!!
    I guess people using internet explorer are confused. In that case fix the damn internet explorer. Another back button in explorer would do the trick.
  • Removing one button is STUPID idea. I mean there is clearly no benefit from hardware point of view as you will still have to include two other buttons so there is no actual space saving in the point of hardware. (Yes, you do save in hardware production costs slightly, but it's not worth the hassle)
    It would be much better to remove all the physical buttons at the lower part of the screen and leave only touch user interface. Nokia N9 is prime example of the ui that does not need any physical buttons. To be honest I'm still surprised apple hasn't gotten rid of the last remaining one already.
    P.s. The most useless button in WP in my opinion is search button. I don't like bing really that much and most of the time I press it accidently when doing something so it is more of the hinderance than useful feature.... heck they could have integrated search together with windows button...  
  • I love the back button, I cant live without it!!!
  • I Hope they upgrade my920 to BLUE. It happened one time with my hd7 and 720.
  • Back button being pushed out?? Existing phones like my Lumia 620 will look ridiculous with a button that can't be used. I used to close running app that way...
  • Also they need to add custom tones for notifications!
  • My hope is that if the "Back button will be eliminated from the hardware requirements" means not that the "Back Button" functionality is going away (I find it weird to use an iPhone now, without the back button!), just that OEMs don't need to include the key itself - which would imply a solution similar to how Android introduced the on-screen buttons for "back"/"home"/etc.  Maybe a "Charm", maybe some sort of gesture?
    It'd be a pain for developers to re-code their apps to put in on-screen back-buttons otherwise... :P
    Now - for closing apps it would make sense to have an alternate method that doesn't involve "backing out" of the app, which can be a bit cumbersome if someone's left a bunch open by using the Start key often - the "X to close" (and hopefully 'swipe away' too?) mechanic should solve that.  But I think the "back" function is still very important to keep. :P
  • Back button is the only reason I use this.
  • I, for one, use the back button all the time. Say it ain't true, Blue, say it ain't true...
  • I wish Windows 8 were made more like Windows Phone, not the other way around! Terrible idea to get rid of the back button!
  • Back button = a Gesture, how charming....
    You can manufacture and release a WP8.1 device with or without the back button (HTC?)
    and any old or new device will still work anyway
    Don't be afraid! 
    Your trusted old friend will work all the eternity like it used to be
    AND you can refuse to buy a new device without a physical button
    Also with the gesture you can even use your device in case your button dies because of over usage...charming, huh?
    Even if the search would go you could still use yet another gesture
    The Windows [#] Button Long Press should bring up 
  • The phone will look weird with only two button :-\ i like my back button i use it all the time, makes switching to different apps well easy
  • This is what's scary for me. I need to buy a new phone but I don't want to buy a new GDR3 preloaded phone now and in Q1 2014 the new WP8.1 preloaded phones come out with totally new hardware that makes end of 2013 LUMIAs outdated...
  • I use the back button all the time. If they get rid of it, they will have to add a virtual one to IE.
  • I never use start. I always use the back button.
  • hey wait, they didn't mention the vpn/business feature packed? vpn, i need it please!
  • "Metrics show that users don't get it and just hit the home button" That is the most retarted shit i've heard since the doing away with the start button. What if you clicked on the wrong link or something and just want to click on back to undo?
  • I like the back button.
  • Just put a gesture area on new devices, best thing webOS had, along with the cards that now everybody is copying... Easy, intuitive, awesome... Old devices can still use the back button
  • I hope MS read this thread. We all use the BACK BUTTON! Its a huge additional feature over iOS. Looks like we will all be implementing soft back buttons like on win8 apps but we won't have the same screen real estate. Very dissapointing.
  • "we’ll have to defer to Microsoft’s metrics on this one, much like how they changed the Search key from context-aware to universal for Bing in Windows Phone 7.5." That explains a lot... I was wondering why the search button wasn't context sensitive any more since I moved from experience with WP7 straight to 8. I thought the context sensitive aspect was a strong point of the search key. To me, get rid of that button.
  • I am a loyal windows phone user but I if they get rid of my back button I will be devastated. When I use my wife's iPhone or ipad it is torturous that I keep looking for a button that isn't there. The software button is just not as good. Hopefully they will rethink this.
  • Back button! We don't need no stinking Back Button!!!
  • Even though the rumor says the back button is to be removed from hardware "requirements", that is probably to allow phones that are as big as tablets to not have one. While smaller formed phones have the physical back button still. I'm sure the OS can detect the screen size and whether or not to display a digital back button.
  • I really really hope they do not ditch the back button. That is one of the reasons I hate iPhone. There is no back button on the iPhone!!!!! All you can do is go home. How stupid is that? If people don't "get it" then they need to learn to "get it". Stop developing products for the lowest common denominator. Many of us do use and love the back button!!!!!
  • This back button thing is really bothering me now. Losing the back button would be a huge step backwards in my opinion. And trusting Microsoft's metrics may be not the best move either. Aren't these the same metrics that said people don't really use the start button? How stupid was that? Besides, what could possibly be the benefit of losing the start button? Do they need the space for something else? Is it bothering anybody? Is it breaking anything? Is it costing too much money? How about we just leave it alone.
  • I am not sure people should get super worked up over this.  He said the back button is no longer a hardware requirement.  That doesn't mean it will be removed completely.  The way I read this is that the back button will be an option for phone makers.  I suspect it will be removed from budget phones, and kept for high-end phones.  After all, it's probably the high-end users that use this feature the most.
     
    I will say this, a lot of apps won't navigate properly without some ability to navigate backwards.
  • I use the back button all the time. Hope it doesn't go away.
  • Of all things, Microsoft is learning from Apple to remove the Back button?! What???! Why can't MS learn how to put in a good notification center, or grouping of tiles, etc rather than removing the precious Back button????! C'mon MS! Stop sucking up on Apple on the wrong thing! Even Apple is getting smarter now by copying good stuffs from other platforms like Android, yet MS is moving backward!
    Oh Please! If this is true, I think Windows Phone will realy reach EOL within 2 years..... Well done MS and now Nokia is gone too.....
  • Common merge Windows RT and Windows phone 8 already!!! WP8 is awesome so is RT, but both platform lack features that the counterpart doesn't so the merge is absolutely perfect. BRING Swipe from LEFT to change app to WP8 and swipe from top to bottom to close app etc. to WP8 2 or 3 apps on same screen might work well on bigger displays!! WOW i can already see what the merge would like which is AWESOME!!!
  • They shouldn't ditch the back button I mean how are we gonna close the apps? Even multitasking is in the back button. Never ditch the back button for dumb people who are always touching the Home button to exit apps and then complains that their phone is getting slow and their battery drains so fast. I hope you get my point
  • They shouldn't ditch the back button I mean, how are we gonna close apps? Even multitasking is in the back button. And also you're ditching it because of dumb people who always use the home button and think they closed their apps not to mention who are complaining about their battery life and their phone is getting slow. I hope you get my point
  • They shouldn't ditch the back button I mean how are we gonna close apps and do a multitasking? And the reason you're ditching it is because of the dumb people who always use the home button to close apps thinking that they really closed it and not to mention, complaining about short battery life or the phone getting slow. I hope you get my point
  • Every thing is fine, but I guess most would agree they use the back button more than any other on their WP
  • I use the back button all the time, especially browsing articles on WPCentral
  • How then do we pull up a list of running apps... Assuming that the Windows button will be for the SIRI Killer "Cortana" or whatever they are calling it these days. Seriously softies... Don't call it that. Two-Syllables max. Hell, one even better.
  • Hmm. I mean, I bet you could just swipe to the left, or something. I doubt they would ignore us power-users..
    Interesting, indeed.
  • Maybe the back button could pull up the left charms? ;)
  • I just dont understand how removing the Back button will improve anything. The Search button is probably going to stay, I don't see why it too would be removed.
    Any removal of any hardware button just means more UI clutter, I don't want a back button inside an app, the button is already convinently placed where it is. 
  • I would like to spare some thoughts on back button. Like other 500 comments said I also say a No-no for removing it, but also I think it should be redesigned.
    It will need 2 fixes (one of which we will get in GDR3) it is a close from multitask and taping and activating app while it still scrolls. 
    For now it is quite annoying to close apps by tapping 100 times a back button. 
    Overlapping with WinRT: I don't want windows on my phone. WP is good enough for me. Just add functions and polish an existing things.  
    If they screw it up like Apple did to their iOS, than I will get a simple OS-free phone.
  • With Windows being unified, the battle is on between whether to add phone features to Windows RT and have RT be the new Windows Phone operating system. Or having the Windows Phone RT OS eventually replace Windows RT. Only one can really survive. A waste of resources to support two separate OS's for ARM. And Thurrott is the ultimate defender of Windows Phone. He praises WP8 at every opportunity and lambasts anything Surface because he is intelligent enough to know that only one can survive and he's put his chips on Windows Phone. The likely winner is most likely Windows RT because its code base is closer to Windows 8.   The disappearance of the back button in a future version of Windows Phone lends further evidence to Windows RT eventually winning out. The back button is not a feature of Windows 8 or Windows RT. But the back button is key to how apps interact on Windows Phone. It would make far more sense for RT to be the tablet/phone OS as it can share apps with Windows 8. Windows Phone is too different from Windows 8.  Using Windows Phone OS as their default ARM OS means that Microsoft will have to maintain 2 operating systems which doesn't fit their unification goal.  Going with Windows RT and moving phone features into it does fit their goal.
  • Why are they gonna break app compatibility again? Hey we don't have enough apps... Lets make the developers make new ones... Again! Ugh! They should've given Windows 8 a back button to start with!
  • Getting rid of the back button...... That's just stupid. How are we going to switch through windows by holding it and what if i what to keep an open and not close it? Will the windows button now close an app completely removing multitasking?
  • +1 for thinking its a stuipd idea. Without it doesn't Windows Phone just become iOS with less apps and the apps in alphabetical order.
    Back button is central to the whole user experiance.
  • Because windows 8 has no back button now all apps and games will run on both
  •     I just dont see them dithcing the back button without also ditching the search button, that would create an ugly offcenter button placement. Maybe they will change it into something else, like a menu/multitasking button. I would definetly take this rumor with a grain of salt. 
  • I'm a back buttoneer.
  • Just another attempt to ditance themselves from Nokia hardware!!
  • NO BACK BUTTON?
    Y DO DIS?!?!?!
  • Use the back button all of the time. Can see ditching it as a requirement, but hopefully, it will retain it's functionality for existing phones.
  • they should keep the back button, its good to have it and the start button,
     
    having windows rt and windows phone merge into one system, im not too sure on that, as i like that the surface is still a full operating system, rather than like android and ios, where it needs a mother system to work with it
  • "don't get it" ??? Really? It would be interesting to know how many of those that don't get the back button came from iOS devices...
  • Going the iSheep way!!
    MS is getting it all wrong. It is killing the things that makes WP different!
    All of us have to bear the brunt of some douchebag users!  
  • Please please please Microsoft, don't cancel the back button in windows phone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • im just letting Nokia, samsung and MS know...
    I will never buy a WP without a back button
     
     
    WTF this is one of the features of the operating system I hate the apple system all you can do is go back to start, I dont alr\ways want to go back to start sometimes i just want to go back one page
    What a joke
    back to designing phones for clueless idiots I see
  • On a related note, will the 920 and 820 on AT&T ever see an official 8.1 update from the carrier?
    Seems like a shaft job, if not.
  • I'll be upset if they actually get rid of the back button. I use it constantly...
  • I just made this on user voice (searched for other postings about it but nothing came up), http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4571179-do-not-remove-the-back-button-
    vent your anger and outrage!, only way they can see that they surveyed a bunch sheep and tin cans lol.
  • The back button is only useful because we've gotten used to it! The concept of it MAKES NO SENSE as a universal button.
     
    I don't mind if it's kept around, but getting rid of it is a good idea. Much better to have a Back function inside apps that need it. We LITERALLY only need it because we have no other way of really closing out apps - and since we get that now, the back button is superfluous as a system level function. 
    I can guarantee that once we get the "X to close apps" function, extremely few of you will ever use the Back button outside of an app again, other than as a way to switch between apps, which could be done with another button (preferably by holding down the Windows button, and moving voice search/command to the Search button instead) or by re-assigning the Back button to work as a menu/switch button.
  • BACK button is great invention as most of iOS app has a back button on the top... Why Why Why does MS make it go away. Why? 100% agree on people using Home button that they are noobs/retarded.
  • Removing the back button wouldn't be smart at all. If a small number of people are confused by a simple idea, then let them skip using it. Don't eliminate it from those who make a lot of use out of it. I personally use the back button every single day. Mostly to make sure the application/window closes when I am done....or going back in a browser. Take that away and it would drive me mad. I know I'm not alone. 
  • If they get rid of the Back button, I might as well switch to the iPhone. I like the new iOS7 design because it looks more like WP, and having no back button on WP would remove the main UI feature that improves it over the iPhone. I really love WP, but I'm sure the app selection on iOS would help ease the pain. No "back" button on WP would be making my decision for me.
     
    Microsoft, please don't fall into the hipster minimalist mentality that wrecked the Gmail Compose redesign and countless other useful apps. These super cool hipsters are doing qualitative analysis but not quantitative analysis. Don't do the same with the Back button.
  • As a developer, the increase in overlap with RT is awesome news. Speaking to colleagues and freinds that do freelance work, this was one of the main reasons they didn't want to be bothered with the new MS ecosystem. I figured they'd eventually make it easier to create a universla codebase. Glad to see it happening this soon.
     
    Fixing the notifications is equally awesome news. It's probably my only legitimate gripe with the platform. Apps like Viber, WhatsApp and Skype are seriously inconsistent with toast notifications and tile updates. Reading the reviews for most messaging apps echo this sentiment. If they can get this resolved there will be a lot more positive word of mouth.
     
    Now If they can convince Instagram to get onboard around the tie blue is released WP8 could really takeoff. I've told countless people how great the platform is and so many have mentioned lack of an official Instagram app. 
     
  • The back button is the only way to close multitasking apps and go "back" in Internet Explorer. Why remove it?
  • The only problem I have with them removing the back button is that if you hit the back button, you get the previous state of the app you were using while tapping the icon for the app again effectively "restarts" the application. If hitting the app tile would bring you back to the app's previous state (same page or position in the app you were using), I wouldn't care that they removed the back button.
  • I use the Back button now and again, but if I want to leave an app open & just use another appat the same time, e.g. listen to music while sending a message, browsing, using facebook and Twitter then I just use thew Windows button. I always use the Search Button for Sound Search & reading QR Codes as I've not seen an alternative using IE, I also use the Search Button regularly for doing quick Searches that don't always need me visiting a certain website.  Maybe they should just move the Search & Back Buttons to the left hand edge as physical buttons & have the Windows Button on the front.
    Another alternative, Have just the Windows Button on the front, then have a swipe up for Search & a physical button on Lefthand edge with a long press to bring up the Multitasking list & multiple presses to close apps like the back buton currently does, then put the back button in the app menu.
    Or change the UI to use the Windows Button to bring up the app list, right to left swipe to bring up the Windows 8/8.1 Right hand Charms Bar, Left to Right swipe to bring up the Windows 8/8.1 Multtasking bar, Swipe up for the Menu bar with Back button in there & Swipe down to bring up the current Notification bar (or whatever it's called) Showing Clock, Wifi, BT, GPS Dot, Vibrate icon, Signal Strength/4G/HSDPA/HSDPA+/3G/GPRS/EDGE connection, then just swipe more central of the Screen to Scroll around apps.
    Personally I'd go for the latter if Microsoft want to merge WP 8 & Windows RT as it'd be more intuitive for anyone who uses Windows 8 but not a WP 8 phone to come over to a Windows 8 Phone. This is probably the main reason why Apple keep the same version of iOS on both iPhones/iPod Touch & iPad along with Google Android on Tablets & Phones being identical apart from being skinned differently by manufacturers.  If Microsoft successfully pull off merging WP and Windows RT I can see Apple doing the same by putting OSX onto iPhones, iPads & iPods ( but obviusly modifed slightly to make it usable on small touchscreen devices). Canonical's Ubuntu Touch OS videos show a good way to merge Desktop & mobile Devices into one. Buy a Windows RT Phone get the WP UI, drop it into a docking station to charge and provide HDMI out and USB Ports and you've got an ultra portable device that's also your phone.
    Roland 
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRVC4BKWaP8
    Guys, This is a concept UI I saw on YouTube. If Microsoft makes this happen, then I tell You WP will have the best UI ever. 
    Sorry for rustling up this thread. But this video is worth it.