Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update, slated for a 2014 release, is expected to bring a number of major changes to Redmond’s mobile platform. One such major change might be the addition of virtual buttons. Currently Windows Phone devices have the back, home and search capacitive buttons built into the body of the device. Support for virtual buttons would mean that manufacturers would no longer have to build them into the body, they will work just like the virtual buttons do on Android devices.

The possibility of virtual buttons coming to Windows Phone 8.1 a.k.a Windows Phone Blue was teased by a partial screenshot released by serial Twitter leaker @evleaks, who has a credible track record when it comes to leaking information about unannounced products or changes. It hasn’t been said if all Windows Phone 8.1 devices will be required to come with virtual buttons, but it seems like this move could prove beneficial for OEMs who would like to repurpose their Android smartphones for Windows Phone. This isn’t the first time we have seen virtual buttons on Windows Phone. The Nokia Sea Ray, which ultimately ended up becoming the Lumia 800, was first spotted with virtual buttons before it was released with a design change that brought capacitive buttons.

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