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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft is getting rid out of the back button in Windows Phone 8.1. Or at least that's what the latest rumours claimed until an even newer report debunked everything reported up until this point.

The Verge - citing unnamed sources - has added a new rumour on top of the rumour pile for Windows Phone 8.1, claiming that Microsoft will drop any requirement for a hardware back button in favor of an onscreen version. If true, the company will technically still kill the back button, as previously reported, just not entirely. 

Read: New Windows Phone 8 update all but confirms Nokia Lumia 1520

Microsoft is allegedly testing Windows Phone 8.1 without hardware requirements for back, Start and search buttons, and it is ensuring that apps with core back-button functionality still work with the new change. 

During Microsoft's experimentation, the new virtual buttons in Windows Phone 8.1 apparently appear as a black bar at the bottom of the screen. Sounds a lot like Google's onscreen buttons for Nexus Android devices, right?

All of this tinkering around is part of an effort to lower costs for device manufactures. It's not clear how these changes might affect the Windows Phone interface, however, which had caused many Windows Phone developers to initially recoil at the thought of no back button.

Have no fear, though: hardware may be out the door and virtual may be in, but it appears Microsoft will use this trend instead of killing back-button functionality altogether.

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Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 15 October 2013.