The “accidental” leak of the first Nokia Windows Phone prototype (codename Sea Ray) revealed something interesting: Unlike current Windows Phone 7 devices, this one did not have any front-facing hardware buttons. Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin has now weighed in via Twitter, confirming that the Windows Phone Mango device specification will not require hardware buttons on the front of the device:
WP7 Mango Update – according to design guideline there no need to put hardware buttons on front. Samsung, Lg, HTC will have such phones
Interestingly, the last chassis specifications released by Microsoft (at MIX11) still require three hardware buttons. Two obvious theories spring to mind: Microsoft will release an updated Windows Phone specification (with support for software buttons) or this device will remain a prototype (for now) with the first official Nokia device to sport the three required buttons.
Do you have a preference: Hardware buttons or software ones?