If you’re a Windows Phone 7 user, you might have been grumpy about the lack of copy and paste on your phone. Or you might not have been. I wasn’t, but then I rarely use copy and paste on a mobile handset, so the grumbling largely passed me by.
However, Microsoft has started to push out its “NoDo” update to WP7 handsets, bringing with it that missing function and a few other improvements too. I got the notification that the update was waiting for me on my way home last night; unable to resist even a minor upgrade to almost anything, I fired up the PC as soon as I got in.
The process is straightforward: plug your handset in, the Zune software fires up and alerts you to the update. It took about 15 minutes on my handset and involved a couple of restarts to the phone itself.
So what’s new? A lot of the changes are incremental and/or under the hood. Many have said it’s stuff that should have been on board when the WP7 handsets started appearing earlier this year. The many might well have a point, particularly with regard to copy and paste.
It’s as you’d expect: tap the screen roughly where you want to start copying the text and the text highlights. You can drag the cursor in either direction to highlight the text you want. Once that’s done, tap the little copy icon. To paste – in any application that accepts text input – you’ll see a paste icon. Tap that, and your golden words pop into the text field.
The other noticeably big change is to Marketplace, Microsoft’s app store. It looks better – the original iteration was a bit no-frills and ragged around the edges. My phone, a Vodafone LG Optimus 7, has its own section of the Marketplace, offering several free LG-specific apps, including Photo Stylist for those of you who can’t resist over-processing your snaps; I’m a musician [sic], which places a virtual piano on the handset; and the potentially useful Metro Scanner, which uses the phone’s GPS to locate your nearest Tube station (and works for other cities too).
Microsoft says apps launch faster; the LG is a nice little handset that hasn’t struck me as being slow off the mark, so I hadn’t noticed that it’s any faster to start an app, but every millisecond gained when using tech is a good thing, right? Ditto Facebook, which is already well integrated into the WP7 experience: apparently it’s faster and better. As I say, every millisecond counts when you’re posting what you had for breakfast.
My only major gripe with WP7 is that it removes some of the more granular control previous versions gave you over your handset – no access to the file system, for starters – so the belated decision to reveal your handset’s MAC address in the settings is a good one for those who need to join a Wi-Fi network that restricts access to specific devices. Next time, Microsoft, please, can we have access to the file system back?
I’m a fan of this handset in general – the HTC devices got a lot of the attention when WP7 launched, but this slightly smaller phone, which boasts a couple of additional apps, including one that stitches photos together to form a panorama; and Play To, which streams content from the phone to any DNLA-capable device, is a nice alternative to the HTCs, and is certainly enhanced, if in subtle rather than shouty ways, by the NoDo update.
There have been a few homebrew versions of the latest ROM out in the wild; the advice, as you’d expect, is not to apply them but to wait for your carrier to push out the official version for your handset. It will be landing soon if you’re in the UK, so sit tight. The NoDo update is definitely a DoDo update.
Pros: copy and paste; shinier app store; MAC address visible
Cons: later than originally promised; still no access to the file system