After facing a delay to iron out a few issues Microsoft has finally begun distributing the first full update for Windows Phone 7 devices. Dubbed NoDo as in "No Donuts" – in reference to Google's Android naming scheme – the update brings the much awaited Copy and Paste functionality, as well as faster app and game performance, streamlined Marketplace search, improved Wi-Fi connectivity, Outlook and MMS and some tweaks for the Facebook integration.

The new update was supposed to be released in the first two weeks of March. But a series of glitches with a small patch in February, aimed at preparing Windows Phone 7 devices for future updates, led Microsoft to revise the schedule. Back then, a reportedly 'small number' of users – mostly Samsung device owners – were left with a bricked device. Microsoft stopped the update to fix the bugs but even the follow-up release caused some issues.

Not surprisingly, the company is taking a careful approach by slowly distributing this update. Based on numerous reports, users with unlocked phones are among the first to get the update, while phones that sport carriers' brands will possibly take as long as four weeks to receive the download notification. As for new handsets, like the recently announced HTC Arrive on Sprint, they will ship with NoDo already installed.

Microsoft is already working on the next big software version for its Windows Phone platform, codenamed Mango, which is expected by the end of 2011. The release should come with its own version number, most likely 7.5, and bring a host of new features, including multitasking, Internet Explorer 9, SkyDrive integration and Twitter people hub support. In the meantime, check the full list of improvements in NoDo from Microsoft's official page after the break.

March 2011
OS version: 7.0.7390.0

  • Copy & paste: Tap a word and drag the arrows to copy and paste it on your phone. You can copy text from emails, text messages, web pages, and Office Mobile documents, and paste it anywhere you can type.

  • Faster apps and games: NoDo update cuts down the time it takes for apps and games to start up and resume.

  • Better Marketplace search: Marketplace search is streamlined to make it easier to find specific apps, games, or music. Press the Search button in the Apps or Games section of Marketplace and you'll see only apps or games in the results. Press Search in the Music section of Marketplace to search just the music catalogue.

  • Other Marketplace improvements: The stability of Marketplace is improved while downloading apps. The experience of downloading apps larger than 20 megabytes is also improved. Upgrading from trial apps to paid apps, using a credit card with an address outside the United States, sharing links to apps via email, sorting Xbox LIVE games by release date, and creating an Xbox LIVE account from within the Games Hub is much better.

  • Wi-Fi improvements: The phone's Media Access Control (MAC) address is now displayed in Settings. Also removed the limit on the number of Wi-Fi profiles that you can store and reduced the time it takes to start your phone if you've stored lots of Wi-Fi profiles.

  • Outlook improvements: Improved the experience of viewing iPhone photo attachments you receive from a non-Exchange-based email account (such as a Google Mail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail account), using the Global Address List (GAL) when connecting to Exchange Server 2003 using Exchange ActiveSync, and working with email display names that contain brackets (for example, "David Alexander [Contoso]").

  • Messaging improvements: Improved the experience of receiving Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages if your phone uses a PIN-locked SIM.

  • Facebook integration: Improved the experience of syncing Facebook accounts.

  • Camera improvements: Improved the stability of switching between camera and video modes.

  • Audio improvements: Improved experience of Bluetooth headset to make calls when playing music or videos.

  • Other performance improvements: This month's update also includes software from several phone manufacturers that improves the performance of specific models. If you don't have one of the affected models, this portion of the update will not be installed on your phone.