When Do We Stop Writing On Our Hands?

Recently, I observed somebody in the city with an iPhone how he was reading something on the screen copying some of the content, maybe a phone number, with a pen onto the skin of his hand. Wow, we've really come far, we have smartphones, we have big screens, we have touch, but people still need to use a pen to write something on their hand or on a piece of paper in order to remember it!? That doesn't seem right.

But it's not only iPhones, I am doing the same every now and then with my Nokia phone, too, because sometimes it's either not possible or too complicated to copy and paste data from one application to another, e.g. from the web browser straight into an e-mail or into the notes application.


  • I can't copy text from a web page from Opera Mini into an e-mail. Same with links. If I want to do that I have to click on the link first so the page is loaded, pretend to save it as a bookmark, mark the URL in the new window and hit the copy button. Then I have to cancel the bookmarking action, go the the e-mail program and insert it. Not impossible but way to complicated.
  • The other way around is equally difficult: I can't directly start Opera Mini from an eMail when I click on a link. This always starts the built in browser and not Opera Mini. So to circumvent the problem I click on reply in the e-mail program, scroll down to the link, mark and copy it, open Opera Mini and past the URL. Again, way too complicated.
  • Now try it for yourself and copy/paste a phone number from the address book to the 3rd party e-mail program on your phone…

On the PC, these tasks are much easier to accomplish. So how hard can it be to make this work in a more convenient way on smartphones, too?

2 thoughts on “When Do We Stop Writing On Our Hands?”

  1. I’m a Smartphone fan. I could proudly say that i have tested Smartphones since the very beginning. I was lucky to own and test the first Nokia communicator, the Nokia 7650, which i consider one of the first smartphones and Ericsson R380. By that time i was working for a Network Operator and has the opportunity to buy phones at cost.
    I owned the first palm pilot, the first Windows CE handheld PC (Casiopeia ) and a bunch of Windows Mobile PDAs.
    This background might help you understand how long I’ve been in touch with such awesome devices and what Smartphones and PDAs has become nowadays.
    The most impressive thing of this is that, no matter how much progress in handheld devices, we still need to have a pencil handy…if you think about this is hilarious.
    Right now i own an iphone, and even though is an impressive piece of electronic art, still has SO MANY to improve about user experience and required features.

  2. I find the BlackBerry to be very good at this kind of copy/paste thing. Your test is trivial, and is easily accomplished with either the built-in email client (the only one I use) or Webmail through Opera and all with one thumb if need be – but two (and the odd finger for app switching) work much faster. BlackBerry’s context conditioned menus also speed things up (you’ve just highlighted some text, so “copy” is the default highlighted menu item), they work really well.

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