Copy and taste

Well I’ve been lucky enough to borrow a pre-launch Windows Phone 7 for a few serious chunks of time over the last couple of weeks – enough to properly start living with the device, getting all synced up with Exchange, Facebook, Gmail etc; putting a few hits of the 80s on there; and copying across a few movies and pictures.

And I’m very positive about it indeed. The design effort that the team at Microsoft have put in is obviously enormous and very effective, managing to mix suprise with simplicity and to create a very pleasing interfaces which remains intuitive and usable.

Under the hood, performance is hugely improved and the drive for common hardware specification will make a huge difference for developers. It’s simply a great thing – like its PC companion.

But what has almost been more interesting to watch than the slow dawning realization online that Microsoft has made a device well worth consideration, is the often bizarre tack taken by the usual army of uniformed critics.Of course there is the predictable ‘Microsoft is shit, Apple is brilliant’ (and vice-versa) which polutes virtually every technology comments page. But in recent weeks, this has given way to outraged posts bemoaning the lack of copy and paste. How on earth will we be able to use this phone without this one feature whinge geeks everywhere with perhaps only one thing in common: none of them have tried the device.

This particular bandwagon is really rolling. it’s even got to the stage that – at today’s launch- the product team promised the feature would be added by January next year.

But why has this become so important? Or I suppose I should say, ‘why, oh why oh why?’

Let’s bear in mind that this feature was missing from the first three generations of iPhone without leaving users desperately copying essays onto the back of napkins or breaking down in the street. I’ve got it now on my iPod touch, and on my Android phone for that matter and how often do I use it? As infrequently as possible. And I’d imagine the same is true for post people. Why? Because it’s just too fiddly and I use my phone for working in tiny little chunks not big ones, and besides – when addresses or numbers come up, I can normally click right on them to carry out the appropriate action.

But people criticise the lack of copy and paste because its the only thing they know about the phone and it would obviously be a crime not to have an opinion about this product, especially when it’s made by Microsoft.

As Bill Buxton said at Mix this year when asked about the iPad (pre-release), it’s probably best to try it before making up your mind.