Microsoft has quietly removed the obligation to have onboard cameras on Windows Phone powered handsets according to a report published by John P. Mello Jr from PCWorld (opens in new tab).
The software company is usually very strict when it comes to hardware specifications, and we are rather surprised to see that such a basic feature in modern smartphones has been yanked.
By forcing Windows Phone handset manufacturers to adopt a common hardware platform, Microsoft reduces the probability of having software issues. Doing so however prevents manufacturers from building unique selling points, as all handsets tend to have the same specifications.
As for the reason why Microsoft would want phones without a camera, well, PC World posits that it would allow phone makers to come up with handsets for government and corporate environments where security is paramount.
Yet this hasn't been an issue for both the Apple iPhone, tablets like the Cius and the Blackberry Playbook and Blackberry handsets, which all have onboard cameras.
It could also be that Microsoft wants to reduce the cost of Windows Phone handsets, as a good eight megapixel camera adds around £15 to £20 to the cost of the phone - but who would buy a phone without a camera nowadays?