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.

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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.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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