Print 25 comment(s) - last by flyingrooster.. on Dec 7 at 1:05 PM

Copy and Paste is about to hit Windows Phone 7. The feature has reported begun being rolled out to developers.  (Source: HTC)
Microsoft's post-holidays present to customers looks to be off to a fine start

Customers who have picked up a Windows Phone 7 device or are thinking of buying one may not have to wait much longer for copy/paste functionality.  The company rolled out an update to developers implementing the feature. 

It took Apple two years to implement copy/paste on its iPhone (the feature was first released in 2009 with the availability of iOS 3.0).  Today, Apple's implementation is widely regarded as the gold standard, as it is accessible throughout the interface and relatively easy to use.  Android, by contrast, has copy/paste, but it's not accessible in some parts of the interface (e.g. emails, messaging) and it's somewhat clunky.

Still Android is far better off than Windows Phone 7 in its current state, which has no copy/cut/paste.  Along with the lack of multitasking and hot-swappable storage, this missing feature was widely maligned by Windows Phone 7 critics.

The platforms advocates, including its growing legion of developers preached patience.  "It's just taking the time to do things right, " they said.

Well that looks to be the case.  In the Windows Phone 7 build 7.0.7338.0 (current release version is 7.0.7004.0), released first to developers with Samsung Taylor's, copy/cut/paste is not only fully working, but is easy to use.

In most of the core apps mail, IE, Word, etc you tap a word to highlight it.  Once highlighted, arrows appear on either side of the word, that can be used to include more words.  An icon appears above the selection that allows it to be copied to the clipboard.  In messaging and some other apps, getting to the selection process is a bit trickier, but still reasonable.  You first have to long-press a particular message.  Then you get a hidden menu that includes the option to start making a copy selection.

Once you've copied your desired text, pasting automatically appears as an icon option in the top row of your keyboard.

It appears at present that cut is not directly implemented, but you can likely simply delete your selection after copying it, to essentially perform a cut.  Also unknown is whether the clipboard can stored a history of copied items.

Individual letters within words can't be copied without copying the whole word.  This is a bit disappointing, but is perhaps a necessary evil to port copy/paste in quick to use form from the desktop world to the touchscreen world.

With the feature apparently complete, it shouldn't be long before Microsoft's rumored copy/paste update to the Windows Phone 7 masses rolls out in finished form.  That update is rumored to and in January and also unlock third party multitasking.  With copy/paste in hand, Microsoft may have one mean competitor on its hands, given the fact that its graphical user interface is arguable the most innovative out of the RIM/iOS/Android/WP7 mix.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By zorxd on 12/6/2010 10:17:22 AM , Rating: 1
Only multitasking and tethering remaining to be almost on par with Android of two years ago?

RE: next
By RandomFool on 12/6/2010 10:23:33 AM , Rating: 2
That, and a HTML5 web browser. Mobile IE isn't bad but it's definitely the weakest part of the OS. Especially given the lack of useful apps.

RE: next
By Murst on 12/6/2010 10:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure if IE is the weakest part. I suppose its all subjective for that you want to do though.

My #1 feature that's missing from my WP7 phone is the ability to VPN. I need to be able to connect to work email and I can't. Would also be nice to only have to use one inbox for different accounts, but I think the VPN is more important.

RE: next
By Da W on 12/6/2010 10:53:59 AM , Rating: 5
Android media playback sucks compared to WP7, android doesn't have office, nor live tiles, so do we call android late? No, it's just different.

RE: next
By Flunk on 12/6/2010 10:55:37 AM , Rating: 4
Read the article, this update also supports multi-tasking for 3rd party apps (1st party multi-tasking was already supported).

Tethering is only supported if they mobile provider allows it. The Samsung Focus, as an example, already supports tethering, although I don't think there are any mobile providers that will enable it for you (there is a a way to unlock it if you're really desperate).

Windows Phone 7 and Android are not really comparable in their interface paradigm. Android is all about openess and choice, where WinPhone is about simplicity and standardization. Trying to compare based solely on shared features is doing both platforms a disservice.

New features
By flyingrooster on 12/6/2010 10:37:41 AM , Rating: 1
I still cannot understand how this wasn't included from the start. Windows CE has always supported copy/paste from '96 on. PocketPC phones from 2002 had copy/paste. My HTC Touch Pro 2 with Windows Mobile 6.5 has copy/paste. I'm really not sold on this Windows 7 phone stuff. I seems like MS is going backwards. I've been using Windows Mobile for years since switching from my Palm IIIx. I have always valued the Windows Mobile platform for being professional, flexible, and efficient. I can't even use the programs I've been using for almost 10 years on the new Windows Phone. Now it looks like MS just wants to make another iPhony. Thanks MS.

RE: New features
By CrazyBernie on 12/6/2010 11:44:02 AM , Rating: 3
I can't even use the programs I've been using for almost 10 years on the new Windows Phone. Now it looks like MS just wants to make another iPhony. Thanks MS.

So... because MS is trying to be innovative and shed some dead weight, they're like Apple? Way to give the wrong company credit.

Sometimes you have to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Watch out for that change... it'll get you!

RE: New features
By Alexvrb on 12/6/2010 11:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
Well, in order to get good native backwards compatibility they would have needed to either continue using the outdated WinCE platform (it's been around too long, it would be like updating Windows 9.x AGAIN instead of releasing NT-based WinXP) OR they could have delayed launch until they got a really solid built-in emulator up and running (but it would STILL have incompatibilities and speed issues, and wouldn't encourage developers to just move on completely).

Neither of those are good options for MS.

Maybe some 3rd-party developer will build/port over an emulator for (at least ARM-based) WinCE (such as Windows Mobile 6.x and earlier). Since you're only emulating the OS, and not the processor architecture, it might not be *too* slow for basic use. I wouldn't want to run any demanding software in such an emulator, but some software should work OK. MS won't do it because it is a waste of time and effort for them. They have important crap to worry about.

By the way before you slam me for lack of perspective, I currently use a WM 6.5 phone, and while it works very well for me personally, I understand completely why they wouldn't waste their time worrying about legacy WinCE/WM software. The marketshare of WinCE-based devices is virtually nothing. I use mine for phone/text/email/browsing (via Opera Mobile, most of the time), so I don't care that much about apps. I can download .cabs off the net though, and I do like the freedom of being able to run homebrew software so easily - but I acknowledge that it makes piracy super easy as long as the pirate groups still exist. For example I could go nab a .cab of a commercial game, instead of paying for it.

RE: New features
By flyingrooster on 12/7/2010 1:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone 7 is still based on Windows CE, albeit WinCE 6 instead of WinCE 5 that the Windows Mobile 5.0-6.5 series used. The APIs used in WinCE 6 are backwards compatible with those of WinCE 5, just like the Windows 7 APIs are with those of XP. This Windows Phone release is within the same series of OS, it's not a change of the underlying foundation like going from 9X to NT. Microsoft could have included the DLLs needed by legacy applications like they did for their other operating systems. No emulation would be needed. Still, one of the reasons Microsoft has been so popular is due to backwards compatibility. I can run 30 year old DOS applications in Windows 7.

In any case, the removal of the ability for the user to install software is completely unacceptable. It boils down to the desire to control the device. I paid for a piece of hardware and I should be able to use it how I see fit. I don't need anyone telling me what I can and cannot do with my purchase.

Are you just lazy...
By Duk3togo on 12/6/2010 12:20:38 PM , Rating: 3
Individual letters within words can't be copied without copying the whole word. This is a bit disappointing, but is perhaps a necessary evil to port copy/paste in quick to use form from the desktop world to the touchscreen world.

It would be a longer process to try and copy individual letters than just typing it. Are you that lazy that you would want to copy and individual letter from a the word "and". I can picture already stating C/P is fail because I can't C/P "a" from "and". Just press the letter in your keyboard, why would you want to C/P a letter. Plain stupidity if you were allowed to do a single letter.

Just a small step ...
By dani31 on 12/6/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just a small step ...
By mfenn on 12/6/2010 10:32:47 AM , Rating: 3
In MS products, the third field is typically a build number within that series. So from build 7004 to 7338 is a decent amount of work.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Murst on 12/6/2010 10:35:05 AM , Rating: 2
Umm... copy+paste isn't all that important. Only iOS used a major version to implement it, I think.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Mitch101 on 12/6/2010 10:59:18 AM , Rating: 2
Enough of the Anti-Microsoft crowd screamed so it had to add it even if it was just to shut them up.

Anyone who has used the device would agree its not important the way the phone was designed. I have copy and paste on my blackberry but never have used it. Overall I guess its better to have options even if you never use them.

Once Third party multitasking is enabled the Anti-Microsoft people wont have much to complain about. The App store is building nicely too.

RE: Just a small step ...
By mavricxx on 12/6/2010 10:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
This is a huge step as I use copy/paste all the time in my Blackberry. It is specially useful when you want to copy a texted phone number, email, picture, etc... to add to to your contacts or send your contact info out etc... I don't know what you're talking about! You probably don't use your Blackberry to its full potential.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Alexvrb on 12/6/2010 11:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
You don't need copy and paste for the most common examples, such as adding/editing contact info. On most phones you can just touch/select the phone number, email address, picture or whatever and get a dialogue to add to contacts, make new contact, save, send, etc. Also for adding pictures you could hit "insert" and shove it into a text or whatever.

In fact, using copy and paste for that sort of thing would actually be slightly slower in some cases than just clicking and going "add to contact" or "new contact".

So for most users, it isn't something that is going to be a major issue. Heck, most users don't know how to copy/cut/paste on a Windows box, let alone their phone. Don't get me wrong, I want the feature just in case. I have it on my current phone. It comes in handy once in a while, but even as a geek I don't use it that often.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Souka on 12/6/2010 11:07:48 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently its a hot topic...many users asking for it.. so to you it may not be important, for many it is.

Anyhow...will the copy/paste be "as useful" an my DroidX?

RE: Just a small step ...
By Murst on 12/6/2010 11:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
The 'important to me' thing is irrelevant. My statement was simply meant that it isn't important enough to have a new major version of the OS just because that feature was implemented.

RE: Just a small step ...
By melgross on 12/6/2010 12:51:10 PM , Rating: 1
Apple didn't have a new version of the OS just because of that. It was only one of many new features. Apple just prefers to do one major new release a year, rather than doing what Google does, which is to come out with a number of new releases a year. That makes a mess of the situation for manufacturers, carriers, and users, because there are so many versions floating around, with new devices coming out with outdated versions of the OS which don't get updated for months, if at all.

But MS is behind in this now, and so they want to get it out there as soon as possible. I don't blame them, as they've been criticized for it, and it could be one reason the phones don't seem, according to reports, to be selling well.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Luticus on 12/6/2010 1:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
What i want to know is why so much weight and attention gets put on version numbers. They are completely arbitrary and mostly meaningless except that to note that one product is newer than another. you could just as easily call a product 2.0 as you could 1.5 and they could be the SAME product. This is no different then apple calling the new osx 10.6 instead of 11.0. The features are implemented now and the "version number" is irrelevant. I swear, sometimes i think people are just looking for reasons to whine.

melgoss just so you know, this post is not in reference to anything you particularly said. your post just happened to be in what looked like a good place in the chain of posts (near the end of a "branch") and so in order to sort of "reply" to the entire line of whining over version numbers i placed it here. I mean no offense to you and regarding your post i agree. I am simply glad the feature is there now and if they get 3rd party multitasking right and make a Verizon win 7 phone then I'll go out and pick one up (as long as it's as good as or better than the Omnia 7, but I'm a huge Omnia fan so that's only natural).

RE: Just a small step ...
By PrezWeezy on 12/6/2010 5:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
7 is the operating system, .0 is the "release" or equivilent, and .7338 is the build number. For instance, Windows 2000 is Windows 5.0. XP is 5.1, XP64 is 5.2 Vista is 6.0 and Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1. The .0 is a release, not an update.

RE: Just a small step ...
By kaosstar on 12/6/2010 12:01:46 PM , Rating: 3
I've had my Droid X since August, and I think I've only used copy/paste once, to email a url to someone. It's an overrated feature for most people, and android's copy/paste is the clunkiest of all smartphones.

RE: Just a small step ...
By Da W on 12/6/2010 10:51:51 AM , Rating: 3
Cause WP7 doesn't work like other OSes, it works in universes. When you switch program you switch the universe, keeping the previous in hard memory to preserve ram. Adding a clipboard over all other stuff that stays alive in all universes isn't as easy as it sounds.

I miss tethering more than i miss copy and paste.

RE: Just a small step ...
By davepermen on 12/6/2010 11:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
they where working on it since summer or even more early, but didn't want to change the feature set and risk not hitting the deadline. better reach the deadline + do bugfixing with the known feature set, while working on updates without deadline forced upon.

stable and working, then enhance the features.

RE: Just a small step ...
By sepulcro on 12/6/2010 1:05:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have never ever used copy and paste in my droidx (about 6 months of use).

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

Most Popular ArticlesTop 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki