[There is now an unofficial fix/mod for this on xda developers!]
Considering the amount of customization HTC has made to the phone, it is somewhat hard to understand why it stuck to Android ICS’s default navigation bar buttons convention when it designed its own physical touch buttons on the device. The reason why this is one of the biggest design issues is because by giving the device BACK, HOME and MULTITASK buttons, the most essential MENU button is left out.
The One X’s physical touch buttons.
Yes of course the Menu button is available in software form and yet this is also the root of the problem- it has to take up screen real estate to be there at all times. HTC most likely envisioned beautiful fullscreen apps with the Menu button existing in the Action Bar (Google, it’s NOT particularly ergonomic thank you very much) at the top right corner like so:
Action Bar menu is circled in red. Try reaching that on a tall device..
versus something like this:
Action Overflow crapness circled in red.
And each time the “Action Overflow Button” as it’s known officially- has to load, the whole screen is pushed upwards to make space using not exactly little CPU resource to do so.
It’s not HTC’s fault completely for readying and future-proofing a device to display apps in beautiful fullscreen achieved by the new API levels (14, for ICS 4.0+) and yet it may perhaps be an oversight considering the current and long-continued need for legacy apps for the 60%+ (vs 2-3% of ICS devices) of all Android devices (running 2.3.x requiring a lower API level). This issue will decrease in severity as time goes by, when developers update their apps to enable legacy as well as new API level support but the one to take full responsibility should be Google and the fragmentation issue they sprout right off the bat. (Developers feel free to chime in and correct me)
How it could have been
Going back to the One X’s design perspective- the long-hold on the Home button is not mapped to anything, which could really have been used for multitasking meaning there was space for a physical touch Menu button while keeping the face clean with just 3 physical touch buttons.
For the full HTC One X review, head over to my review site: HTC One X review: a real Hero to lead the quad core charge.