I just posted an awesome comment in David K’s thread about WP7’s copy/pasting limitations and guess what, I’mma copy paste it right here because I got really emotional and want some answers:

Man oh man the copy and paste battle never ends.

David K, if you’ll indulge me, imagine going back in time a few decades and you see your younger self and your mission, as per the agreement you made with the time travel machine dealer, is to tell your youthful, innocent unradiated self about the concept of a smart cell phone. Now picture yourself pulling out a gun, aiming it at your younger self’s head, giving him a pen and paper (or your phone I suppose) and tell yourself, “Write down every single feature you want The Future to deliver you two decades from now. Be specific and I won’t blow our brain out, even though that would be interesting in terms of learning more about time travel paradoxes.”

Porn would be on the list, unless you figure that goes without saying. Would copy paste be on the list? Of course not. Unless I suppose you went on and on about how Windows is so great and Office is so great and the two together yada yada.. Who the hell cares? There has been more written about copy and pasting on phones of all platforms relative to the actual demand to use it and volume of its use than there has been with anything else, including Netflix and Flash. Yes I know more people talk about Flash but many of those people actually use or want to use it, whereas… ahh you see where I’m going with this — what’s the big deal for Pete’s sake is what I’m trying to say. What are we reading and who do we need to tell about it verbatim on our phones that it’s made for such a damn contentious debate.

That’s not a rhetorical question. Could someone explain why this is such a torrid incendiary issue? Maybe I’ll just copy paste this comment into an article post with my ANDROID PHONE! :P :P

Doug Simmons

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21 COMMENTS

  1. OH I see why. Just saw this Tweet: just checked friend’s Android phone and it seems that you can’t copy a tweet or facebook status update on it

    And I’ll repeat my last response:
    I think it’s generally overblown but it’s part of a bigger picture. Like this: I get an email with an address in it. I can only tap that and it brings up Bing Maps. That’s it. Can I save it to my contacts? nope. Send it to a friend? Nope. Can I take the email and forward it to someone else but redact the trash talking in it? Nope. In practice, it leads to a few frustrating scenarios in actual use. The walls MS put up on this OS are pretty high. As a business user, you can feel that at times and you need to work around it. It shouldn’t be that way for something so seemingly simple.

  2. First:
    “Yes I do damnit! (0%, 0 Votes)
    Yes I do damnit! (0%, 0 Votes)
    Yes I do damnit! (0%, 0 Votes)
    Shit no. Just give me porn and I’m set. (100%, 0 Votes)”
    0 Votes equal 100% only at porn :D Nice Voting system :D

    And I don’t care that much about c&p. I use it like once in 2 month.

  3. I file those under the minor inconveniences folder which is right next to the isolated incidents folder.

    Just perplexed that, judging by what I’ve read here and there at least, there is more demand for improved copying and pasting functionality than there is for, say, more GPS accuracy, improved battery juice technology, improved processor and screen efficiency, thinness, weight, invincible material … what else..

  4. continuing, … network technology improvements rolled out as fast as the scientists cook it up, more competition and lower prices, OS-level easy to set up VoIP over any kind of data, … for you guys Bing turn by turn (right? still don’t have that?), ability to store more stuff and read/write it faster, more DPI, reform the whole web to conform to phones better, .. here’s a good one, good insurance plans for expensive phones. Would you not rather have any of those things than copy and pasting?

  5. Regarding not having to repeat stuff like addresses, how’s voice recognition on your side? Pretty impressive on mine and it would probably be enough to hold you over.

    Does WP7 have voice recognition on the phone side or does it beam a recording over to Microsoft to figure out and then spit the text back?

  6. I for one use copy and paste all the damn time. I have sites and servers that I manage. Therefore I have a lot of passwords that are secure and completely random. These passwords are saved with an app that I can use and sync on my phone and computer. With this app I need to copy and then paste in the passwords so I can log in to manage these various computers/servers. I think copy/paste is a big f’n deal. 2 cents.

  7. All right fair enough, me too, multiple sites and servers I often use my phone to work on or maintain and I could picture situations in which I’d want to be able to do that.. but i’d also say you and I are anomalies in this sense versus most of the people who rant about not having it yet

  8. Amazon sends me an Email with a tracking number for my order, and I need to get the number into my package tracking app. For that use case voice recognition wouldn’t be of much use for me. But my Nexus One has C&P, so I can cart the information over with ease.

    IMO lack of C&P is born of cavalier assumptions about how people want to use their data. These assumptions may hold true more often than not, but when they’re wrong, it can be a pain. The C&P debate is probably overblown, but IMO it’s no more or less important than some of the items you mentioned. It’s all a moot point for me though, as Google got it right.

  9. On that 20 year old list would have been, no longer needing to carry a pencil and paper everywhere. That’s what copy/paste helps to achieve. Many of the other improvements you suggest are “wishful thinking” or at least require some additional technological advances or fine tuning. Copy & paste exists. Its not that hard to implement. That’s why many users, including me, are waiting for it. Maybe your superior noggin can remember a 16 character alphanumeric tracking number, but my old brain can’t. Plus, after I got my first Palm my brain stopped remembering things like phone numbers. Now it just tries to remember your name. Technology will take care of the rest, just not until copy/paste is reimplemented.

  10. All right, now there’s a pretty good answer.

    Follow-up: What the hell is it about copy and pasting that makes it so hard to code into your operating system or whatever right, well and fast? Why don’t they just grab the Android code and stuff it in, it’s open source I believe. Given the demand for it and given that it strikes at least me as not the most sophisticated thing man has come up with, you’d think this wouldn’t be an issue.

    And by the way, just because I have a superior noggin (you’re perceptive!) doesn’t mean you need to point that out publicly and make me look arrogant. Leave that part to me.

  11. Is it a big deal? Probably, but not as much as people are making it. If you need said functionality right now, why are you using WP7? It’s not mature yet. I know, MS should have had this, blah, blah, blah… How many of you are software developers? How many have ported something from, let’s say, VB6 to c#? Was it easy? Probably not. Management have one schedule, developers have another? Cut functionality. We knew this was a major change but I see constant “WM6.x did this”. Just cause something was done before doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement again.

  12. True, but as Doug noted, even if starting from scratch it shouldn’t be that hard to code. I mean it has been done before so conceptually, at least, the framework is there. And several developers have created a soft of copy/paste within their own apps.

    As far as need, let’s see:
    -Turn by turn directions. Well Bing shows me turn by turn, just doesn’t announce/display it while moving. And that’s why I own a Garmin GPS unit.
    -Multitasking – Been a few instances where I would have liked to bounce in and out of an app without losing my place, but some apps tombstone well, so not that big an issue
    -Task (app) management – Would be nice to have something to better manage tombstoned apps, but its not a high priority
    -Flash support – Got enough of that apready. Don’t need any more
    -Outlook task management – Solved with a new app
    -Direct Outlook sync integration. what’s Outlook. Seriously, I opened Outlook every day for the past 7 or 8 years, but with this phone, there is little need to go to the desktop for anything, so not important for me.
    -Custom ringtones – Sort of miss it, but getting used to some of the installed tones so less an issue every day. It’s a feel good feature, not a must have productivity add-on.
    -Cut & paste – As each day passes it seems like I find more of a need for it. At first it was maybe once a week, then twice. Now it’s almost every day and it is frustrating to pull out a piece of paper, write down a tracking number, 45 character email address, complex password, or a variety of other things, and then have to type said complicated entry back into another text box, and no typos allowed BTW or help from auto-correct, due to the nature of the entries.

    The lack of cut & paste is not enough for me to put my SIM back into my Tilt2 (that’s for sure), but it does reminded me every day what I have gotten myself into with this Gen 1 WP7. I would like to think that less and less as time goes on.

  13. @yss: Not just was it done before but remember that at the heart of WP7 is Windows CE. The same engine behind WM6.5 and lots of other stuff so it’s fully protable. It’s not like third party apps that have to be rewritten to Silverlight. It’s native so they can just port it. And plenty of devs have copy and paste within their apps. There’s open source for it. Within an app on WP7 you can copy and paste. You just can’t go outside of the app in that case. In the end, this was really something simple to enable. Like tethering. The shit is there. Turn it on!

  14. @DavidK: Development isn’t just implementation. It’s also ramifications. As for WinCE, it’s driving the uverse boxes. Developing for a DVR is not the same as a phone. Just because WinCE allows you to do something doesn’t mean you should actually do it. I think you’re focusing too much on if they can or can’t implement it. I’m thinking that they can implement it but what possibly could go wrong.

  15. Maybe I don’t understand but I can’t imagine how a clipboard, with maybe a 5k limit (we are only talking text here), could have any kind of negative performance ramifications for the wnd user. For everything that has been discussed, cut & paste probably has the least impact. Maybe that’s why it is first on the list for implementation. Still don’t understand why it missed the first cut though.

  16. Way to go Simmons! I usually disagree with most of your articles, but you are dead on with this one. Since I got my Focus, I realized there was a bunch of bullshit I had and used that I have no need for. I have read through a bunch of articles and threads of people complaining about this and other issues. My thing is you knew this before you got it! People act like someone pulled a bait and switch. I’m tired of people wanting Windows Mobile! I loved my WM phones but goddammit I loved my cassette deck, my record player, my VCR as well. Can’t stick a VHS tape in my Bluray player! I’m not gonna post an article about how sony screwed me cause of it. Move on people!! Iphone fans world didn’t end because no C&P.

  17. @jimski: That sounds real management like. It seems easy to me, so make it happen.

    Looking at the .NET framework, I’m taking it to say that I can use any of the formats defined in the DataFormats class when coding for Windows CE (I see 21 formats defined and I’m looking at the 2.0 Framework). Now in WP7, I’m only allow text. Sorry, but I don’t see how limiting from 21 to 1 and not allowing some type of exploit is so simple.

  18. I’m a Focus owner and love my phone, absolutely love it more than any phone os I’ve ever used. But I really so want copy and paste. No, not because the ifreaks and fandroids use it as a blunt force object to club us with on every forum, but because, like jimski, I actually find myself needing it every day.

    Granted, there are a number of other fixes and enhancements we definitely want as well, but copy/paste is high atop that list for me.

  19. For those of you who say pasting isn’t important, have you ever used Word or Excel without the ability to paste. ? I’ve been buying Windows powered mobile devices (Phones and PDAs) since 04, mostly to be able to create office docs without lugging around a laptop. Not being able to paste is deal killer for me. I’ve postponed purchasing a Windows 7 phone until the pasting update, despite my current Windows 6 powered HTC Fuze no longer holding a charge for more than 5 minutes. I need a new phone badly, so the paste update couldn’t come soon enough.

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