Windows Phone 8.1 could grow devices up to 10 inches

And kill the back button?

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Windows Phone 8 device displays might soon reach previously unheard of sizes if a report published today holds any water.

Over at the Windows SuperSite Paul Thurrott shared some scoops, including word that the expected Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue" update could add support for devices with displays up to 10 inches large.

We already heard that the GDR3 Windows Phone update might add support for 5- to 6-inch devices, but it seems the update after that - the Windows Phone 8.1 release, code named "Blue" - might push that even farther.

Although "this obviously infringes on Windows RT/8.x tablets," as Thurrott put it, "so it's not clear what the thinking is there."

This town's not big enough

Compatibility with more devices is generally a good thing, but there are few key questions that signal extending Windows Phone 8.1 to tablet-sized devices may not be a great idea.

Among them, can Microsoft possibly maintain and explain three different operating systems that are all on devices of the same size?

Windows 8 and Windows RT are already doing battle over the 10-inch Surface tablet. What will be left standing if Windows Phone 8 tablets of the same size join the fray?

Finally, will Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 eventually merge?

Microsoft may want to think twice before potentially cannibalizing itself any further, though it would behoove us to keep in mind that this is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor at this point - and one that doesn't necessarily make sense, anyway.

'Back' to the future

The same report highlights some other potential features of WP8.1, like increased API compatibility between Windows Phone and Windows RT - which actually supports the idea that they could someday merge.

In addition, Windows Phone will reportedly become less Android and more iOS with the substantial update when Microsoft axes the "back" navigation button from hardware specifications because it "just doesn't makes sense."

Finally, multitasking will reportedly improve and become more efficient with Windows Phone 8.1.