Nokia WP7: first an extra tile, now an extra button

I may have miscommunicated the issue the first time around, but there is yet another interesting aspect of Nokia’s concept Windows Phone 7 device. This time, an extra hardware button on the right side of the phone sits alongside the per-Microsoft-specified camera and volume buttons.

On its side, the button’s icon appears to be a lock which would indicate this is a screen lock button. This of course would be in addition to the power button that already exists at the top of the device that all current Windows Phone 7 devices use to turn off and lock the screen.

Although this might be a welcomed featured to some, what worries me is that little things like this will have a butterfly effect on the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem in the long-term if the hardware and software diverge, like Android has. Having said that, fragmentation doesn’t seem to affect market share but it will muddy the platform experience.

Of course I understand these images are concepts, but you would agree they’re not sketches on the back of a napkin either. There’s an attention to detail in these 3D models that takes it over the line of “a rough design”. There’s no reason not to believe this is what Nokia intends to manufacturer and apparently they have the power to do so.

32 insightful thoughts

  1. Nice Grab Longzheng oh actually Longzheng Sir.yah u may be right but that button could be a power sure about the power button residing upward of the phone?? Hope Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS will be a hit with Nokia. and even should concentrate on the deisgns and configuration of their phones. thanks for the

  2. Is it a button or possibly a microSD slot? Maybe its just my brain but I’m sure I see a SD card slot symbol to the right of what you see as ‘the button’.

    Of course, that would deviate from Microsoft’s hardware requirement to hide away the SD expansion.

  3. Think about it like a cartoon:a lot of the things the cyote and roadrunner do are not physically possible, its for you to laugh at. Similarly you are overthinking it here. Its a taste, a what if, etc.
    Also like how microsoft started longhorn they made all those videos that showed where they wanted to go, did actual coding to seeehat was possible, refinded it and refined it some more and one day vista was released.

    1. I find it hard to believe this are exaggerations as the cartoon example. The Windows, back and search buttons are all designed to specification. The volume and camera buttons too. Those would suggest these oddities that stick out were purposely designed.

  4. aaah this is not microsoft fault..its all nokia designing and all..Microsoft doesnt come and Desgn their smartphones..And about Longhorn (vista) it was ok OS..but there was no prob with home user. only at intermediate level it was can happen with any 1..and now wat windows 7 it became the most essential software of 2010..who taught nokia will a flop after sumtym and join microsoft . Even i taught Nokia will sign android but they choose WM7..thats gud. and hoping to get success to both Microsoft and nokia.

  5. The X-6 has the exact same button layout on the right-side. Bottom right is the camera, top right is the volume button, and the right middle button is for the key-lock.

  6. Could this actually be the power button on the phone, and not a secondary button to lock the phone? It would be a touch awkard to be on the side, but it would be one of the few phones to experiment with that.

  7. It’s a screen lock button. Standard button layout on all Symbian Nokias. Power/USB/3.5mm at the top.
    MicroSD/SIM card slot should be on the left side. Interestingly, it isn’t there on the render. Either the designers knew WP7 doesn’t support hot-swappable cards or it’s underneath the battery.

    & the camera module looks like EDoF. Not good.

  8. I agree with Long when it comes to avoid fragmentation on Windows Phone 7 in order to keep a much better and same experiences across devices. What worries me the most is that manufacturers will then ask for the same special treatment to alter hardware specifications and Microsoft will have to accept. :-S

    P.S. Not trying to bitch here but miscommunication is not the same as being wrong, plain and simple.

  9. But why the special treatment to Nokia after all the strict requirements? How or why is that acceptable to other partners? Btw which WP7 do you currently have Long?

      1. I zoomed in and then realized I was a huge nerd… so I put down my magnifying glass, and turned off my computer monitor.

  10. When samsung htc or lg bring a potential onethird of the market with them… or when they make a commitment to make windowsphone their PRIMARY phone OS… theyll get a better deal too.

  11. Seriously, I don’t care about extra buttons – I just want the soft buttons to be not quite as soft any more.

    When I’m playing a WP7 game and my finger drifts to a screen edge, and search, or the Windows key, or back gets hit accidental from proximity, I scream a little on inside.

  12. A lock button would be nice on a capacitive touch screen. Try playing a game. At some point your finger will accidentally get too close to one of those capacitive buttons and kick you out of the game. Perhaps this button will turn off the capacitive buttons

  13. What if MS & Nokia joinly make a mobile provide?. Nokia has a necessary hardware resources, MS – software. Because all these carriers are very unflexible (hint: the first Windows Update was blocked by them).

  14. Why is everyone so scared of fragmentation of WP7 hardware?

    Varying hardware specs will happen eventually anyway. The hardware cannot stand still forever, obviously.

    Sooner or later, developers will need to get used to writing apps that work with various devices, buttons, resolutions, etc. It’s better to do that sooner than later, otherwise apps are written assuming a fixed platform and we discover all these problems later.

    (And if the API or development/debugging/emulation stuff isn’t designed with this in mind, that’s a huge failure right there. Presumably it is well designed as MS have been through all this before.)

    (Looks at the problems Win32 ended up with because certain screen (or whatever) metrics were unchanged for years and people hardcoded things like window border sizes, scrollbar widths, font sizes, DPI/resolution, etc. into their apps (and their god-awful UI frameworks, which is entirely Microsoft’s fault). When those metrics changed in recent years it left us with a legacy of apps which do the wrong thing, and silly stuff like the OS actually lying to apps — unless they go out of their way to prevent it — about the width of window borders, DPI/coordinates, etc. to try & fool them into thinking they’re still running on something like Win95. Anyone who has used drag & drop, or just resizing certain windows (or just looking at the blurry mess!), on a high-DPI machine with the many non-DPI-aware programs can see some of the problems that result…)

    I have an Android phone and I can honestly say this fragmentation problem has meant nothing to me.

    1. I should add that I feel some kind of *minimum* spec is a good idea. e.g. So that developers know that all phones will at least have a menu button, or a minimum resolution. But it should not cause panic if some phones can have extra buttons or higher resolutions.

  15. At this point of WP7 lifetime it’s either fragmentation through Nokia-delivered differentiating features, or a fade into irrevelancy.

  16. Adding an extra button is good and encouraged.

    The hardware chassis specs are a minimum requirement and MSFT staff who I’ve spoken to have confirmed that OEMs are encouraged to go above these requirements to differentiate.

    Just because Nokia may make an phone with an extra button does not mean that the minimum specs will be changed to force everyone to do this. It’s good for Nokia if other OEMs don’t add a hold button, even if they do.

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