Future Windows Phones may not be needing the 3 physical buttons (back, home, search) that should be very familiar with any Windows Phone users. This conclusion is based on rumors heard over last month and the past few days.
There are actually a few rumors. However, I concluded that the soft buttons are most likely to happen since the other rumor is saying that Nokia is going to make an Android phone (highly impossible, especially Microsoft has bought over Nokia).
This is how I concluded that Microsoft is going for soft buttons in future Windows Phones or on the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
On 26th November, evleaks mentioned Nokia Normandy. It shows a handset similar to the current Lumia range except without the physical buttons. Some speculated that it will be running on Android or it might be the next Asha range of phone. That is when the rumor that Nokia is making an Android phone starts. Even The Verge has reported on it.
On the 14th December, evleaks tweeted another photo showing just the 3 icons (back, home and search) of the Windows Phone and mentioned it as Windows Phone Blue. Windows Phone Blue is the codename for Windows Phone 8.1.
Today (16th December), I read the news that Nokia has shelved the Android project (rumored to be lead by Peter Skillman) in favor of wearables in the future.
And on the same day, winsupersite has made (or gotten) a screenshot of a Windows Phone main page with 3 soft buttons. This has made the story that Microsoft has bended their rules of the 3 physical buttons more believable. Plus, recent event has showed that Microsoft is listening to the customers (like making the Start Menu a comeback in future Windows update?)
Rumor after rumor after rumor. We shall wait and see if these rumors materialize. Seriously speaking, I don’t mind soft buttons for Windows Phone. Look at the previous Nokia N9 from Nokia. It looks sexy and nice without the physical buttons. I hope that Nokia could make a handset that has minimum bezel. It will really look nice.