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.