Windows Mobile Smartphone Copy and Pasting


You can’t do it!

I’ve been using the new Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone Edition with my Qtek 8500 for a couple weeks now. I’m used to the Pocket PC Phone Edition flavor, so naturally I’m noticing plenty of limitations and shortcomings with both platforms now. One, significantly annoying difference on the Smartphone flavor is that I can’t transfer information from one program to another! Normally this would be done with Copy and Pasting… but you can’t do it!

Friday I got a text message from a friend that contained her address so that I could pick her up later that night. I wanted to copy it into her contact info in my address book so that I could calculate directions later. No can do! There’s an option to “Save to Contacts” but that only takes her number down. I actually had to wait until I got home, open my Smartphone, navigate to that text message, read her address and then type it into Outlook on my desktop computer. I mean, come on, how ridiculous is that? I might as well use paper!

Then Saturday afternoon, I was running errands with a friend in the wholesale district of Manhattan and we wanted to go have dinner later at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant. I easily logged into Skweezer and found the restaurant’s phone number and address. Unfortunately the Opentable reservations application didn’t work on my Smartphone, so I decided to call them. But how was I supposed to get the phone number from Internet Explorer into the phone dialer? With my Pocket PC Phone I would simply copy the number from Internet Explorer, paste it into the Phone Dialer and tap Dial. Not so easy with the Smartphone! I actually have to memorize a 10 digit number with my short-term memory, switch to the phone dialer application, and then regurgitate those 10 digits accurately using the number pad on my phone! Can you believe that? Instead of wasting my time doing that, I dictated the numbers to my friend while she punched them in on her mobile phone.

“Can’t you just click the number from there?” She asked, since she was familiar with my previous Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phones.

“No, there’s no way to select it in this one.”

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that these Smartphones really need to be a whole lot smarter. Either implement a method for selecting text in other applications (and copy/paste commands), or implement something that recognizes data in web pages as being useful. For example, maybe addresses and phone numbers could be recognized as such in Internet explorer and Windows Mobile could create links for those data items which, when activated, would give the user a variety of options. For address selections, things like Copy, Map, Directions, Save to Contacts, New Appointment would be good. For phone number listings the obvious Copy, Dial, Text Message, Save to Contacts options are a must. For the Map and Directions commands, those would have to be associated with some kind of mapping program or web page. Ideally there would be a GPS navigation program that could handle such OS level integration, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!