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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.



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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.


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