When Microsoft and Nokia first unveiled their new relationship it was said that Nokia would have certain privileges over other Windows Phone manufacturers. Microsoft has been placing hardware design restrictions on its manufacturers including the requirement of specific physical buttons. Hence, when Nokia's "Sea Ray" was leaked, the absence of buttons was assumed to be an exercise in their special privileges. But word comes now that this may not be the case.
Industry insider with a track record of breaking Nokia and Microsoft news, Eldar Murtazin, has tweeted that Microsoft may have changed its hardware design requirements across the board. With the new Windows Phone Mango update comes a new design guideline that no longer requires hardware buttons on the front of Windows Phone devices. Murtazin says that Samsung, LG, and HTC will all follow suit with phones no longer sporting the once requisite buttons.
We recently had a Technical Preview of the Windows Phone Mango update, which touts over 500 new features and is set to launch sometime this fall. The promising update along with the exciting new hardware that Nokia has in the works plus the less restrictive design requirements and deeper integration with the Xbox LIVE ecosystem, could make 2012 a great year for the platform.