storage

Microsoft has actively given away terabytes of OneDrive storage to consumers over the rebranding period already, but fear not if you've missed out on previous promotions. The company is giving away 100GB of storage through Bing Rewards. Whether you store your massive photo collection from your Windows Phones or enjoy collaborating and sharing content with others, this extra space will come in handy to many.

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It looks as if the cannibalization of the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 Windows Phone hasn't stopped. First you have the omission of the built in wireless Qi charging. Now it appears as if the Lumia 1520's internal storage will be 16GB instead of 32GB that was noted during Nokia World.

Specs for the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 at Windowsphone.com and at Nokia's U.S. product page for the Lumia 1520 lists the storage as being only 16GB. The only saving grace is that it is noted that the Lumia 1520 will have expandable memory (micro-SD card slot) up to 64GB.

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While Windows Phone 8 10327 and higher (aka GDR2) does a great job of fixing the Other storage memory leak, there are still some quirks that are irritating a few users. The main complaint appears to be how Windows Phone handles auto-uploaded images to SkyDrive, or even if you manually mass upload photos and video.

In essence, when you upload photos to SkyDrive, they end up either in the 'Camera Roll' and 'Mobile Uploads' folders. You can then of course delete them from your device but believe it or not, Windows Phone holds onto them in Temporary storage for two weeks i.e. a SkyDrive cache.

That’s why some people have higher than normal Temporary storage numbers that cannot be cleared using apps like Nokia Storage Check. If you leave auto-upload for photos off, it will be quite low, usually less than 50MB in size (ours is at 33MB). If however you had a few hundred photos that were just processed, it could much higher.

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AT&T Locker, Cloud Storage for Windows Phone 8

AT&T has released the AT&T Locker for their Windows Phone 8 devices. It is a cloud service for U.S. based AT&T customers that provides 5GB of cloud storage for free.

You can upload photos, videos, documents and music files to the AT&T Locker over Wi-Fi or AT&T's wireless network. The app comes with an Easy Upload feature that backs up your photos and videos automatically and images can be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter directly from the AT&T Locker.

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Make More Space is an HTC Windows Phone 8 exclusive that helps HTC owners manager phone storage. The update to version 1.4 gives the app a little more functionality by letting you see a break down of how much space each app or game takes up.

Make More Space will display where your storage is allocated between music/videos, pictures, documents, and apps. You also will see how much free space you have left on your HTC Windows Phone.

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We've covered issues with "Other Storage" fairly extensively in the past, but now we're taking a quick look at a find by Kévin Gosse in his Windows Phone app Imageboard Browser. The app has been causing problems with users as sometimes hundreds of megabytes of data would be stored and taking up valuable space, but this isn't related to other storage so what's going on?

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A handful of you are already planning on picking up the Surface Pro when it comes out February 9 (use that reservation card). Before you make the decision on whether to get the 64GB or 128GB version you should know about some storage issues. Like the original Surface RT, useable storage on the Surface Pro will be less than advertised. If you pick up the 128GB model you’re looking at 83GB left and if you pick up the 64GB version you’ll be stuck with 23Gb. Let that sink in.

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As Windows Phone users, we are blessed with a handsome, dare we say it, world class cloud storage service slotted right in, SkyDrive.

SkyDrive is baked into Windows Phone, allowing all sorts of wonderful uses, uploading the camera roll automatically, storing your OneNote files or just storing good old Office documents. The team at SkyDrive have been opeing up the service and encouraging developers to take advantage of the space with new applications and services. IFTTT is just such an application and it might well be exactly what you’re looking for.

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The new SkyDrive login screen

Two weeks ago Hotmail became Outlook.com with a new Metro…errr..modern look to it and now it is finally time for SkyDrive to get the same makeover.

Heading to www.skydrive.com you can see the new site redesign (log out and refresh if you are not seeing it) that brings it up to par with the Windows 8, Windows Phone and Outlook’s new appearance. And yes, Microsoft is not calling it Metro but rather are using ‘modern’ instead—take that as you will.

Besides the new look, SkyDrive also gets some new features on board including instant search, contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organization, and HTML5 sorting which should make the service is more fun to use.

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Backing up app data on SkyDrive--not cool with Microsoft?

An interesting controversy spring up over at the AppHub forums over the use of SkyDrive for backing up app data—not so much photos and documents (which is fine) but rather unintelligible files created by apps for app-specific data.

The crux of it was someone from the SkyDrive team made a comment that using SkyDrive for such a purpose goes against the user agreement for the API and it could result in the Windows Phone app being yanked from the Marketplace.

Justin Angel, Principal Engineer for Windows Phone experience at Nokia, fervently objected to this idea noting

“As SkyDrive API usage is not part of the Application Certification Guidelines I resent that team threatening app developers with expulsion from the marketplace for misuse of their API.”

It’s certainly a good point although we see the reasoning behind the SkyDrive team’s position. Luckily things are not as dire as expected.

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Box is available for Windows Phone

The team at Box, a cloud-based storage and sharing service, have published a blog article detailing the release of their Windows Phone app, which has been published since June. The app joins their catalogue of mobile apps for iOS, BlackBerry and Android.

The Windows Phone app is a native client so you're getting all the goodies offered from Box. So what's the service all about? Box enables users to upload, store and share files from computers to the cloud. Much like DropBox, SkyDrive and similar services, Box provides a limited amount of space (5GB) for free.

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SkyManager gets updated to version 1.2

The Windows Phone app SkyManager from JDB Pocketware is a nice alternative to access your SkyDrive account. It was temporarily pulled from the Marketplace a short time ago due to logo issues but is back and was recently updated to version 1.2.  The v1.2 update comes just a few days after seeing the version 1.1 update being pushed out that added a good bit of functionality to SkyManager.

SkyManager lays your SkyDrive contents out in either tile fashion or a list view. SkyManager allows you to create and edit folders, upload/download content, and browse your shared folders. Your image uploads can be custom set to reduce resolution (width) or max it out at 2048 pixels. Additional features for SkyManager includes:

  • Support for ZIP files, Support for video files
  • Sharing folders via email, SMS or posting on your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Live or LinkedIn)
  • Multi-user/Multi-account support.

We've tinkered with SkyManager for some time now and find it to be a simple, yet feature rich alternative to the Microsoft SkyDrive app. There are two versions available for SkyManager over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

There is a free version that is ad supported and has some limited functionality (can't pin folders to Start Screen, no photo editing tools, no multiple account support, and no shortened URLs). The full version of SkyManager is ad free and will cost you $2.99.

You can find SkyManager free here and SkyManager full here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

               

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Curious about how SkyDrive can make your life more useful? Read our guide to find out.

Cloud storage is becoming more and more mainstream, especially among smartphone and tablet owners where local storage is limited. Storing data in the clouds (remotely hosted servers) enables the owner to access data from any supported location. DropBox is probably the best known example of cloud storage for PC users with native clients available for both Windows and Mac.

Microsoft has its own cloud storage solution, but how does SkyDrive compare to competitors? We'll take a quick glance at some features of Microsoft's product against Dropbox, Apple's iCloud and Google Drive. Microsoft has also published a chart of their own, which offers a more in-depth comparison.

 

  SkyDrive DropBox iCloud Drive Free Storage 7GB* 2.5GB 5GB 5GB Price +20GB - $10/yr
+50GB - $25/yr
+100GB - $50/yr 50GB - $99/yr
100GB - $199/yr 10GB - $20/yr
20GB - $40/yr
50GB - $100/yr 25GB - $2.49/mo
100GB - $4.99/mo
~16TB available Platforms iOS, Mac, PC, WP Droid, iOS, Mac, PC, WP iOS, Mac Droid, Mac, PC

*25GB is available for existing users.

According to the table above, SkyDrive is a more attractive option compared to competitors, but what about Windows Phone? Microsoft has developed its own cloud storage solution that was formed with the Live umbrella of products, and its fully integrated into Windows Phone with a complimentary app to go with. But where exactly is this integration?

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We previously looked at the official SnapCrowd app heading to Windows Phone, with a planned March release. We're now happy to announce that the app is finally available on the Marketplace and has been since April 10th. The digital media sharing service enables users to upload, view and stream media and even add subusers to the account. Sporting robust security, including SSL / TLS and HTTPS protocol layers, SnapCrowd also keeps data relatively secure. 

The service supports video, music, contacts, photos, contacts and documents. As mentioned above, streaming is a feature that can be used for digital media, including videos. An interesting part of the service itself is the subuser functionality, allowing other users to connect and stream media and files under one account with a single paid plan.

There are three plans that are fairly affordable compared to competitors, a free option boasts 10GB of storage (for a limited time) with one subuser, then the price goes up to $59 for 50GB of storage and finally $99 for 100GB of storage with increased subusers.

Check out the quick video below for more information.

You can download SnapCrowd from the Marketplace for free, and sign up for the available plans on the website (snapcrowd.com).

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Microsoft takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with the latest version of their SkyDrive service

Today Microsoft has announced new SkyDrive storage plans for their cloud service as well as new native sync apps for Windows PC and Apple OSX. Combined with official apps for Windows Phone and iOS that were recently updated, Microsoft looks to undercut the market leader Dropbox and block Google from cutting in on their territory.

Clearly the cloud-storage service SkyDrive will be a center piece between Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 going forward. Best of all, Microsoft has extended this offer to Mac users who can also benefit from the new SkyDrive functionality.

We reported on the news yesterday that the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone had been updated, but we can now rejoice with Windows, Mac and iPhone support now being available. Both PC and Mac preview clients work in similar ways. SkyDrive sits comfortably as a central folder in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, much like Dropbox, and files (up to 2GB) can be transferred between computers (and supported devices).

With the revamp of the SkyDrive service and new clients being released, Microsoft has also lowered the freely available storage from 25GB to 7GB, noting in the MSDN blog post that 99.94% of SkyDrive users currently use 7GB or less. Even at 7GB for free, Microsoft has given a solid left-hook to rival Dropbox who offer a mere 2GB of free storage.

New SkyDrive clients and apps in action

Note, however, should you be an existing SkyDrive user, Microsoft is offering the opportunity to keep the 25GB (or upgrade in this case) for free so be sure to check out the offer on your SkyDrive account (login via the skydrive.live.com). An alert will be displayed announcing "SkyDrive's free storage is changing."

If 25GB (or 7GB if you're a new user or miss out on the free upgrade) isn't enough for your needs, Microsoft is offering three upgrade options for the SkyDrive service:

  • Additional 20GB - £6/yr ($10)
  • Addition 50GB - £16/yr ($25)
  • Additional 100GB - £32/yr ($50)

The above plans and native clients were all first reported by Brazilian website Gemind, back in February. It's interesting to note that Microsoft has unleashed the updates to their service now, just before Google are set to unveil Google Drive as a cloud-based storage solution for their ecosystem. The features present in SkyDrive however are more appealing, minus the Android support for owners of green robotic devices.

Source: MSDN

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BoxShot, a light Dropbox app for Windows Phone, has been updated to 2.2. In this update we now have pinnable folder functionality, allowing users to pin individual folders from their Dropbox account to the home screen for more convenient access. The app will also now be displayed in the Pictures Hub under the "Applications" pivot, and a few fixes were thrown into the mix.

You can download Boxshot from the Marketplace for just $.99 (79p), with a free (ad-supported) version available. Be sure to check out our full review of the app too.

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3

Windows Phone App Review: BoxShot

BoxShot, if you haven't guessed already by the name, is a Dropbox client for Windows Phone, which can be found on the Marketplace for just 79p ($0.99) with a free version also available. Should you be a frequent "boxer" then this app will be perfect for your file synchronising needs. It's a simple, light app that gets the job done.

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Storage is an important aspect of your Windows Phone. Whether you're just downloading a few apps and games, taking pictures & video, or (like me) loading a whole load of music onto your device ready for your commutes into work, you need to have the gigabytes to hold that information on your phone.  However, how much storage memory is needed can vary from individual to individual.

So when you're making the decision on which phone to spend your hard earned money on, and particularly when you are committing to a long term contract, you should be considering the advertised storage on the device. Remember that storage on a Windows Phone cannot be supplemented with a micro SD card.

It's fairly common knowledge that the advertised '16GB' or '8GB' of storage is not the amount you actually end up with, the amount varies based on the filesystem, type of storage, and system files. But what you may not realise is just how much of a difference there is between some of the new 2nd generation phones out there on the market right now.

Luckily, here at WPCentral we've got you covered, and have put together the list below which shows the reported "Total Storage" for each of our review devices.  "Total Storage" is essentially the storage space your Windows Phone can see or be used for file storage.

 

HTC Titan 16GB 12.89GB HTC Radar 8GB 6.54GB Samsung Focus S 16GB 14.07GB Samsung Focus Flash 8GB 6.67GB Nokia Lumia 800 16GB 13.8GB

As you can see, certainly with devices claiming '16GB' of storage there's quite a divide, and if every single bit counts to you, it would definitely be worth considering these figures when you're picking up a new Windows Phone.

Is your device showing a different figure?  Check the 'about' screen in your phone's settings and then sound off in the comments!

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