After seeing the picture of the Nokia SeaRay with on-screen soft buttons instead of the hardware physical buttons for Back, Start and Search, we’ve speculated that it might be something either Nokia or Microsoft brings to the table with Mango.
Eldar Murtazin tweeted that “according to design guideline there no need to put hardware buttons on front”. He might know something the rest of us don’t already know. Nokia had to use up the spare 54 pixels between FWVGA and WVGA to emulate the buttons as the Sea Ray is basically the N9.
On the other hand, when Nokia and Microsoft decided to start the partnership, both parties declared that Nokia will have the freedom to more heavily tweak Windows Phone. They also reassured the world that whatever changes there will be, all OEMs and the whole ecosystem will benefit from the innovation.
Still, the chassis requirements, as we know them now, still require the existence of hardware buttons for Back, Start and Search (nothing that can’t be amended though). If indeed Nokia is making some Microsoft approved innovation here to come out with a buttonless Windows Phone in order to be more appealing and, why not, to be the first (or among the first) smartphones without any buttons on the front, that would perfectly justify Eldar’s tweet.
Holding a flat piece of glass in one’s hand is definitely more appealing, if executed correctly. Manufacturer’s would have the ability to go with the classic look and feel of WVGA plus buttons or, go with the innovative way of more than WVGA, maybe FWVGA and no buttons. What would you prefer?