Here’s a picture of the Nokia SeaRay we’ve seen showed off by Stephen Elop himself yesterday, the first Windows Phone to come out of Nokia. It is based on the Nokia N9 with some modifications but many noticed that the smartphone doesn’t have any buttons on the front.
As you may very well know, Windows Phone requires obligatory Back, Start, Search and Camera buttons as part of the system reqs. While the SeaRay sports a dedicated camera button in addition to the N9, it doesn’t have any buttons on the front. At least not hardware.
If the image above is any indication, either the SeaRay itself or Windows Phone Mango will support on-screen — soft — buttons instead of the hardware buttons (clickable or capacitive). There’s a Back, Start and Search button in the image above which we can definitely guess are 54 pixels high.
The Nokia N9 has an FWVGA screen (854×480) while Windows Phone supports WVGA (800×480). Instead of adding hardware buttons to the already existing design of the N9, Nokia is using up the spare space from FWVGA to WVGA (54 pixels) to emulate the mandatory hardware buttons.
Is this Nokia’s doing? Is this something Windows Phone Mango will support? If it will indeed ship like this we are very well on our way to seeing smartphones running Windows Phone that button-less, at least on the front. If you remember the original video that leaked, the actual demo and the whole showing off was made in such manner that the camera couldn’t capture the projected image of the smartphone’s front bottom. Was that on purpose? Was it a controlled leak after all? What do you think?