Windows Phone 7 to get cut'n'paste shortly, says Ballmer

Biz tyrant insists that end users are the customer

CES 2011 Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will get a significant update in a month or two, with faster task switching and the much-discussed ability to cut and paste between applications.

The news was tucked away in the middle of Steve Ballmer's CES keynote, between lengthy tales of how impressed everyone is with Windows Phone 7 and a recap of the best features just in case anyone had missed them. The update will load applications faster, which means faster task switching, and add copy and paste functionality, and should be pushed out direct to customers who won't have to wait for operator variants.

That's in contrast to Android users, who regularly have to wait months for their network operator to create a variant build of each new release (something the operator has no financial incentive to do). Symbian users are also forced to wait, though Symbian updates are generally less anticipated so it hasn't been such a high-profile problem.

When Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, the company was adamant that end users were the targeted customers, and that operator variants would be limited to preinstalled applications and an operator hub, neither of which should require a complicated build. Windows Phone 7 hardware is also very standardised at the moment, but as faster processors and additional features get added (NFC will have to come at some point) then it gets harder to issue standard updates.

Copy and paste isn't something one uses every day, but when it's needed, not having it can be really irritating and the experience sticks in the mind. More interesting than the features will be how effectively Microsoft manages the update process, and how long it can maintain smooth updates in the face of increasingly diverse hardware. ®

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