Copy and Paste across smartphone platforms

| April 13, 2011 | 43 Replies

One of the main complaints about Windows Phone 7 upon its release was its utter lack of text selection and/or copy and paste, a dire failure if ever there was one; Especially in light of the fact that almost every smartphone platform has had such a simple feature since their inception. Having been running a NoDo equipped smartphone I can say that it’s most certainly a welcome addition but certainly not enough to preclude me from complaining persistently about things I wish WP7 could do.

The guys over at pocket now whipped up a quick video comparing text selection across a number of devices and smartphone platforms, including Android, Symbian^3, BB OS6, iOS and WP7.  The key takeaway, Symbian’s text selection is on par with Windows Phone 5 (circa 2003) and worse than BB OS6 while WP7 is on easily on par with the rest of the competition. Of course, many hold the opinion that if you’re worse than RIM at ANYTHING, you’re pretty dire.


Video below:

As glad as I am to see the Symbian Anna update and all it brings to the platform, I can’t help but want more, lots more from Nokia and I somehow doubt they can deliver.



Direct youtube link


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Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
  • hooliganforlife

    Wow that was bad. I think it might have actually been worse than the Windows Mobile phone. I thought the guy was being a dunce and tried it myself. What a pain. Now try the same exercise using Opera Mini or Mobile. It’s not as elegant as the others but miles better than what that poor guy had to deal with! Copy$Paste in WP7 actually looks quite nice.

    • Steve

      Interesting comparison! Copy and paste drives me nuts on the N8. I always seem to able to scroll the body of text while missing the very first letter. I love My Nokia N8 and I am not giving up on it yet, but you have to admit that the BB, Android, Windows 7 phone and Apple methods are in a different league and far more advanced and refined. I am pretty sure that you cant even use the feature full stop within the Nokia web browser which is just plain embarrassing. Also I pine for the notes app used by the Apple OS. The one on the N8 is just so basic. My N85 even had more imagination then that!

  • lala

    ..its somehow possible to copy&paste text from the web browser @n8?

    • I’ve never seen it done.

    • hooliganforlife

      AFAIK that is not possible

  • Kevin

    Does anyone else notice that he doesn’t say Symbian at all in this vid, he just calls it the Nokia N8, any particular reason for this?

    • Ask yourself the question, does it matter??
      NO! 😛

      • Kevin

        true, i don’t even know why i asked that..i actually should be doing an assignment, but i’m trying to make up any reason to not do it, apparently asking stupid questions is something i do to avoid it, haha.

        • 🙂
          it’s totally k dude

        • Actually there could be a reason: any Symbian phone with a keyboard is much easier to copy/paste. You can simply highlight and press Ctrl+X/C/V as you would on a computer. In this video he was specifying that the N8 as a touch device needed this method.

          • That is, any Symbian device with a QWERTY keyboard.

            • Marc Aurel

              It’s easy enough with a T9 numberpad as well once you learn how to do it. Not “intuitive” perhaps but easy and fast.

              • robinottawa

                Oh? Do you mean a hard keypad, or a virtual one? This is about touch phones and many do not have a real touch pad.

          • Kevin

            meh, to be honest, i like having copy and paste as a feature, but i don’t remember me using it within the last month or so. Anyway i have a N900 and i just use the hardware qwerty shortcut if i need to copy&paste.

            • Copy/paste is the most-used function I use. I can’t say it is hard, but it is not fast on N8 to be honest. It would if they have Select all and better placement of “copy/cut/paste” in menu. This is what I mostly use. I really want to see very badly how they have it improved/changed in upcoming update.

    • Ronald

      lol. you’r right. he called it the nokia

  • 352×416

    What version of firmware was the Nokia N8 running?

    • Does it matter? Text selection hasn’t gotten markedly different as far as I can only recall

  • John Ray

    sadly, symbian was the worst. I hope it could be done better.

  • Adnan

    Two things i can conclude from this video. Nokia have done the right thing by going with WP7. Android is a total rip-off of iOS :p
    also how saddening it is to see that a decade old OS can do copy/paste better than symbian 3. nokia have taken exactly the same feature from non-touch OS and slapped it onto a touch based OS. what a shame.

  • Poop

    Notice that video jump lag when he opened ‘notes’ on the iPod touch

  • I hope they will add a simple “Select All” option for copy-paste.

  • Tinkle

    Fact 1: Andre is now a fully blown Windows Phone fanboy. This article has to be seen in light of that.

    Fact 2: It doesn’t matter how good copy and paste is on Symbian relative to other platforms, all that matters is whether users find it easy enough and good enough. I’d say they probably do, especially as they had it years before it was even a fantasy for those on other platforms.

    Fact 3: The only thing that’s not dire about Windows Phone is (for some people) it’s slick UI. Everything else about it is a total fail.

    • Rant

      You think that the Symbian approach is easy? Come on, you can’t be serious now can you?

      In that light, you rather have a deathtrap of a car to get in to but since you as a user find it easy it doesn’t matter because you/the user finds it easy?

      Sorry, but you just re-established yourself as a blatant Symbian fanboy that doesn’t see it’s problems it obviously has.

    • Rant

      And how is something a fact when in that fact you say:’I would say’ that makes it a personal opinion rather than a fact.

      Fact 3? How is that a fact, that’s just an assumption.

      Just STFU with your whole fact mentioning, it doesn’t add anything but hilarity.

      So far for reacting to the Troll.

    • Cod3rror

      Andre woke up, why don’t you?

  • Rant

    Another testament to the sluggish pace Symbian is/was developing. Eventhough WP7 didn’t come with C&P out of the box I rather not have it then the piss-poor implementation that is present on Symbian.

    WP7 makes it all just flow, easy to use and generally possible for everyone to master. The Symbian approach however takes a fair but of getting used to and to some extent is hard to figure out if you never used Symbian before.

    • Ronald

      someone really like WP7..hahah. i do agree with you on the ease of copy and paste use on wp7 and Symbian takes some time to master(try forever) but that what makes Symbian what it is. i dunno if you see my point here. but 90% of every mobile phone user would have used Symbian at-least once in their life. and that is definitely a fact!

      • Rant

        Nah, I’m no real fanboy of WP nor Symbian nor iOS or Android. But seeing that WP gets a lot of things ‘right’ or at least implement it better is somewhat heartbreaking when looking at Symbian.

        Nokia the corp. that invented a lot of the mobile technology we use today is somehow unable to see or develop a system (OS) that is on par with what the competition is putting out.

        BTW; I doubt if 90% used Symbian, it probably is a large portion of smartphone users today, but more like 60%. A large chunk of smartphone users today went from flipphone Samsungs to Android Samsung I presume. Not a fact at all, I know. Just sharing my opinion.

        • Ronald

          60% eh. i take your word for it bro..haha. im from India and u know the pouplation here the looking at the video it becomes more evident that android is indeed the poor man’s i have changed my opinion now on WP7. it is pretty cool. Plus is Windows(as in Familiar). its just the home screen with the tiles that are a little hard to stomach and the no multi-tasking. its a cool OS in my opion.

  • Mushfiq

    Nokia should release or modify their symbian os for fully touch optimized phones, presently nokias symbian is not optimized for touch screens, lots to improve

    • meegomad

      its because ios and android was made for touch screens

      where symbian evolved to touch from s60v3 to s60v5

      nokia believed changing the ui dramatically might confuse the customers

      but i agree with you theres lots to change its becoming more finger friendly now

  • Cod3rror

    WOW, just wow, Symbian^3 is so bad! Nokia has some very talentless people working for it, no imagination, no expertise, no skills, WTF are all those programmers doing? Have they ever used other manufacturer’s phones?

    At least Samsung’s developers are busy copying from Apple, Nokia can’t even do that.

    Copy/Paste works well on S60v3 keypad phones but Nokia basically copied it and didn’t even try to adopt it to touch.

    WP7’s method for Cut, Copy/Paste isn’t very good but it’s million times better than Symbian’s.

    And it’s not going to be fixed, don’t even count on it, Nokia can’t do it.

    They can’t even implement a portrait keyboard properly or release a basic update on time.

    Software nowadays is even more important than hardware and Nokia can’t do software, they are a dinosaur, they are DONE!

    It’s either Windows Phone or Android for them. They will become another manufacturer, they have no other choice, and when they become a manufacturer look for Taiwanese and Korean sharks rip them apart.

  • graham

    Gosh, it is bad isn’t it. I had noticed how clunky text selection and copy is on the N8. Copy and paste did work pretty well on keyboard devices, but now that I can see how the other devices manage it, it does really look like they weren’t even trying here.

  • inept

    S^3’s text selection is indeed extremely poor. Here’s a hint, though, for Swype users. Swype from the Swype logo to the Symbol key and it has a host of very handy tools that make copy-paste much easier including arrow keys and copy/paste buttons. As long as you’re selecting from a text area and pasting into another, which unfortunately is the bulk of the usecase in Symbian, you’ve got help available to you.

    • graham

      Nice hint, thanks.

  • Jay Montano

    Cannot beat Maemo 5. Keyboard select (CTRL arrow), Ctrl+c, ctrl+v.

    Or that left swype browser thing for touch selection in browser :p.

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  • Arbegla

    Really? The guy making the video CLEARLY doesn’t know how use Symbian, “uhhhhh its not working”, you hear that grunt in his voice. I’d rather just call this video moot, although it does highlight how copy and paste works on other platforms. Symbian’s copy and paste can use work, but it’s not as bad as the video makes it out to be.

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