Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly bringing end of Back button, support for screens up to 10 inches

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: October 9, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 yellow

Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue" update has been the subject of quite a few rumors and leaks, with reports claiming that the new software will improvements like a notification center and improved multitasking to the Live Tile-based platform. Today we've got a few more potential additions to add to the Blue list thanks to WinSuperSite's Paul Thurrott.

According to Thurrott's source, Microsoft is planning to include improvements to both background processes and multitasking in Windows Phone 8.1 that will make running multiple apps at once much more efficient. Also rumored to be coming with WP8.1 are universal binaries that would allow developers to create one app that would run on both Windows Phone and Windows RT hardware. That's one feature that we've heard rumors of before.

Today's report also claims that there are some big hardware tweaks coming with Windows Phone 8.1. One of those is the end of the Back button, one feature that's currently required on all Windows Phones. Thurrott's source says that most users are often unsure of where the Back button will take them and that they usually end up just hitting the Start button and opening an app from there. Windows Phone 8.1 will also reportedly bring support for displays that are up to 10 inches in size. Windows Phones currently feature screens under 5 inches, but it's expected that the upcoming GDR3 update will enable support for 5 and 6-inch screens.

It's worth noting that these details are still rumored at this point, and Thurrott notes that while he believes that it's correct, it does come from a single source. Everything we've heard about Windows Phone 8.1 makes it sound like it'll be a pretty major update, though, and so it's certainly possible that the changes named today could make the cut. For example, axing the hardware Back button could make it easier for users to get around on their phone by eliminating a potentially confusing navigation option. What do you think of these rumored Windows Phone 8.1 features? Are there any other specific improvements that you'd like to see included?

Via WinSuperSite