Image credit: Technocrates

Well, this is news to me at least. Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 now supports “Hardware Keyboards” and the latest Windows Phone 8.1 update 1 aka GDR1 documentation talks about how OEMs can customize devices with hardware keyboard. The documentation has been updated on 15th December and should be in sync with the latest GDR1 update 8.10.14219.341.

For devices that have a hardware keyboard, partners can set these optional customizations:

  • The amount of time, in milliseconds, the user must hold down a key before the keyboard character repeats.
  • The amount of time, in milliseconds, to use as the delay between each keyboard character repeats.

Testing Steps:

  1. Flash the build containing this customization to a phone with a hardware keyboard.

  2. Set up the phone. Press and hold down the same keyboard key. Verify that the amount of time needed to hold down a key before the keyboard character repeats corresponds to the value that you set. Also verify that the delay between each character repeat is equivalent to the value that you set.

Whenever a Windows Phone OS update rolls out, there are some changes which remain hidden and known to only OEMs. But some of them are really important and we just reported how OEMs can now allow offline Maps download to MicroSD card.

While Windows Phone 8.1 comes packed with a very functional and stylish keyboard, sudden appearance of “Hardware Keyboard” support may (or mayn’t) hint about plans of some OEMs to bring Windows Phone devices with hardware keyboard to market.