Paul Thurrot has a number of rumours up about Windows Phone 8.1. Two stand out to me.
Where GDR3 is widely expected to support 5- to 6-inch screens, 8.1 will supposedly support 7- to 10-inch screens as well. This obviously infringes on Windows RT/8.x tablets, so it’s not clear what the thinking is there.
So, Windows RT will become even more pointless than it already is.
Aping the iPhone navigation model, Microsoft will apparently remove the Back button from the Windows Phone hardware specification with 8.1. The Back button just doesn’t make sense, I was told: Users navigate away from an app by pressing the Start button and then open a new app, just like they do on iPhone. And the “back stack” is ill-understood by users: Most don’t realize what they’re doing when they repeatedly hit the Back button.
This I am not happy with. The back button is my main navigational input in both Android and Windows Phone, and I miss it dearly in iOS.
I’m just hoping on performance improvements, still my biggest issue with Windows Phone. I used my HTC 8X for a few hours today, and I was stunned by just how slow everything is compared to Android 4.3. Of course, application quality is another huge issue, but there’s little Microsoft can do to convince developers that their Windows Phone applications are more than just side projects done between serious work on Android and iOS.
I have to admit I rely on having a back button as well. The ZTE open doesn’t have a back button and I really really miss it.
Instead of pushing one button to “go back” now they’ll require a user to entirely bail on an application and go hunt and peck to bring it back up again. Not exactly efficient. I know some applications have back buttons themselves but the ones I’ve used have them in sort of strange places and the button is typically way too small.