Copy-and-paste on Dell Streak needs improvement

Streak-cp (1) 

If you've grown accustomed to the way copy-and-paste works on the iPhone or Android phones with HTC Sense, then you won't be happy with the way it works on the Dell Streak. The way it's handled on the Streak is actually just the way it's done in Android in general, but it's still annoying enough for me to avoid it whenever possible. I'd actually rather just take a picture of the text I want to copy and either type it in manually or email the photo to myself for reference.

Copy-and-paste in active text fields isn't too bad, but it's pretty awful when you want to copy text from a web page (you can't copy text from an email unless you reply to it using the Email app; Gmail won't let you do it at all).

In an active text field like the URL bar, you can long press the screen to bring up the context menu you see below.

Streak-cp (4) 

Selecting text can be tricky since there are no beginning/end points that you can adjust to get an accurate selection, but "Select all" is handy (especially for URLs) and everything else is a simple long press away.

Sadly, it's a different story when you want to copy text from a website.

Streak-cp (3)

Streak-cp (2)

To do that, you press the Menu button on the Streak to bring up the browser menu. Then you tap "Select text" and you drag your finger over whatever you want to copy. Good luck getting exactly what you want.

The text is copied as soon as you lift your finger. Since it's unlikely that you were able to grab what you wanted the first time you tried to use your finger with as much precision as a fine-tipped stylus, you need to try again . . . from the beginning: Menu button -> "Select text" option -> drag finger and hope for the best. Still not right? Do it again. And again.

There's just no way to guarantee an accurate selection, and you always have to start from scratch to try again. After you see that the copied selection is incorrect, your natural instinct is to immediately press the screen to re-select what you want, so it's aggravating when nothing happens and you have to repeat the entire process. It's not a complicated process, I know, but it's inefficient.

Again, this poor implementation of copy-and-paste is not unique to the Dell Streak or Android 1.6. This is how it works on the Nexus One (though the trackball makes precise selections much easier), the Samsung Captivate (Android 2.1 plus TouchWiz 3.0 UI), and countless other Android phones.

But just because it's the way everyone else does it doesn't mean it's the way it should be done, especially when a custom UI is involved.

Since Dell actually took the time to customize 1.6, it's a shame that they didn't follow Apple or HTC's lead and improve the way copy-and-paste is handled on the Streak.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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