One of the complaints I hear most often from Android users is the inability to copy text from an operating system level. The ability to copy text varies from app to app, and unfortunately, most apps don't have this ability. I love coming up with creative solutions to seemingly impossible problems, and this was one that I thought was worth solving.
My 2nd Android application is called "Copy Paste It", and it's available on the Android market now for $3.99. The app "mimics" copy/paste functionality on your Android phone in the following way: When you want to copy text, it takes a screenshot of your current screen. Then, it runs a modified OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine on the screenshot to extract text from the image. Finally, it copies the recognized text into your clipboard. Roundabout? Sure. Solves the problem? Yes.
Here's a video to see it in action:
There's a couple disclaimers to this. First, it requires a rooted phone. Taking a screenshot is something that is not possible on a stock Android device. By having your phone rooted, the app can get access to your phone's screen. Secondly, accuracy is not 100%. The OCR engine is not perfect and hasn't been optimized for recognizing screenshots, but I've been making tweaks to it to improve the accuracy.
If you watch the video carefully, it almost seems like the copy/paste functionality is built into the operating system, when in reality, it's just another app. Kudos to the openness of the Android operating system, which has made this possible.
I'm hoping to follow on the success of my original Car Locator application. If noteworthy, I'll follow up here with some revenue numbers on this app. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on this Copy/Paste solution for Android! You can find it by searching for "Copy Paste It" on the Android Market or using the links below: