Copy and Paste in Windows Phone 7 Series

Windows Phone 7 Series (WP7S) has been a big topic of conversation since it’s announcement at Mobile World Congress earlier this year and since Mix’10 it’s now a source of controversy.

Microsoft are pulling an Apple on us all stating that Copy and Paste functionality will not be available in WP7S and instead they will provide a data detection service which will detect the presence of phone numbers, addresses, email addresses and more and that this data will be made available between applications.

The rationale is that according to Microsoft Research users are not using Copy and Paste on mobile devices, however I for one do use Copy and Paste on my phone and on this occasion I can’t really justify sticking in the Microsoft corner of the argument, especially after the debate and uproar over Apple not including Copy and Paste in the iPhone OS: this actually makes me feel pretty stupid for criticising Apple previously.

This aside, the data detection service does sound very useful – In the same elk as Skype automatically making telephone numbers in web pages clickable like you would experience on the desktop or how Outlook uses SmartTags to detect addresses in emails or calendar appointments.

Engadget asked Microsoft about how this will affect the OneNote Mobile application, and this interests me because although I don’t use OneNote Mobile very much, this is because of the limited functionality in the 2007 mobile release, and with Microsoft claiming to be offering much more in the 2010 mobile release of OneNote, and as a prolific user of OneNote on the desktop, I can see this would be an application of much use to me. I personally feel that the lack of Copy and Paste will affect OneNote detrimentally on the mobile even though Microsoft claim that users are mainly using it for comments and reviewing documents.

This is a great shame as the visual experience of WP7S is outstanding and whilst pointing out the obvious that it’s a major shift from experiences in Windows Mobile 6 and 6.5, it is fairly in-line with the experiences for Zune 4.0 on the PC and the Zune family of media players which means people with Zune experience are one up (+1 to me) and means that Microsoft are starting to show great signs of converging their media and entertainment offerings.

It’s my personal opinion that the copy and paste issue, the multi-tasking issues and the application download and installation process (more to come on this) are major thorns in the WP7S side and will possibly drive a lot of users away to Android and for me I think it will drive me to stick with Windows Mobile 6.5 at least for the time being until these issues are worked-around (think jail-broken iPhone 🙂


Richard works as a Cloud Consultant for Fordway Solution where his primary focus is to help customers understand, adopt and develop with Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and System Center. Richard Green is an IT Pro with over 15 years' of experience in all things Microsoft including System Center and Office 365. He has previously worked as a System Center consultant and as an internal solutions architect across many verticals. Outside of work, he loves motorbikes and is part of the orange army, marshaling for NGRRC, British Superbikes and MotoGP. He is also an Assistant Cub Scout Leader.