Joe Belfiore reveals more on Skype integration and "Other" storage fix

Good news for those who are on both Windows Phone 7.8 and the latest version of Microsoft's mobile platform. Joe Belfiore, who heads up the Windows Phone team and is the idol we all secretly praise in a dark, dim-lit room has revealed more information on both system-level Skype integration, as well as the pesky "Other" storage issue that many consumers are experiencing.

The tweets, which were published before Belfiore's tweet about the Windows Phone 7.8 Live Tile issue, went unchecked but we've been rightfully notified by more observant souls. So what's Microsoft looking at when it comes to further integration with its communications service, and will we finally see a fix for the shocking levels of internal storage stolen by the operating system?

First up is the tweet surrounding the mysterious "Other" storage, which is causing consumers concern. Internal storage on smartphones is limited (even though we're comfortably heading into the world of microSD support) and when an operating system takes up a large chunk of the available storage without providing enough detail on exactly what the space is being allocated for, it can be rather frustrating.

We've attempted looked into the issue as numerous reports have been sent in from readers, but we're still waiting on Microsoft to confirm the problem and announce a fix is on the way. Luckily, Belfiore has come to the rescue.

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We'll stick our heads out and bet that the above tweet is exactly what everyone wanted to read. What's more is there's a temporary suggestion until an update hits devices. Belfiore states that by turning off Skydrive auto-photo upload could help solve the problem (or make storage more manageable), potentially freeing up some space for media and apps from the Windows Phone Store. We'll also have to test this out.

While consumers will have to wait for future updates to see the problem addressed, it's at least comforting to know the team is already working on it. Microsoft's Joe Belfiore also went on to tweet out the following:

"Skype integration in people hub is on way... Requires a Skype update, and no I can't say when that's coming."

Skype is a heated topic within the Windows Phone community. Some consumers argue that the service should be heavily integrated into the operating system, while others would prefer Microsoft to focus on refreshing the current client to function as expected. There's one agreement though - Microsoft has room for improvement when it comes to Skype and Windows Phone.

In Belfiore's tweet, he confirms that Skype integration into the People Hub is on the way, which will require a Skype update. Unfortunately details as to when consumers can expect to see the next release were absent, so -- much like the "Other" storage issue -- there's waiting involved. At the very least, information is slowly beginning to trickle out and we can prepare ourselves for some minor improvements in the future.

Source: Twitter (1) (2); thanks to everyone who tipped us!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Already knew about the Other fix, but the Skype integration is good to hear!
  • About damn time - at a guess I'd say it may roll out when the switchover happens and MSN is no more.
  • errr no. It will probably roll out with the next update - so in ~6 to 9 months around the holiday season.
  • What exactly is the fix for the other storage? Because I just wd started using SkyDrive auto upload because I have no more room on my phone. My other storage is only taking not sure if that's good compared to other users out there.
  • Mine's at 4.43GB. I just tried turning off automatic photo and video uploads and restarted my 920, no change.
  • It is probably a local copy until it gets fully uploaded. But there be bugs aboard!
  • Just download Shrink Storage app from the market and follow the instructions...the app pretty much freed 90% of my "others" storage ;)
  • That's mt my average as well @chill. Use the Shrink Storage app from time to time.
  • My other is 5,23 gb in size and i never used skydrive auto upload. So that's good compared to my phone!
  • I think the Skype integreation is pretty much just fixing the people hub linking that they removed because of the syncing error. What I'd really like to know is how the messenger/skype merger is going to affact the built-in messenger function.
  • I really hope they integrate skype with the built in messaging app, supporting group conversations as well. Otherwise the messaging app will be useless.
  • Yeah I'll never get any more updated because of att that is why I flashed my focus
  • Is all that coming to 7.8?? Skype Integration and other storage fix
  • Don't think so. The storage fix is something that concerns more WP8 than WP7. As for skype integration, depends on the kind of demands that will make of the hardware. Seeing that WP8 is more integrated with skype than WP7, I wouldn't expect Microsoft to even spend an hour looking at WP7 integration. Even a cosmetic update like 7.8 they screwed up, let alone a more "complex" one.
  • I disagree with you on wp8/7 regarding Skype. Its completely replacing their messenger service which IS built into the messaging part of wp7. Not to fix it for 7.x would be pointless.
  • They easily replaced Zune and got Xbox Music on WP8. WP7 users can still use Zune. Probably the same thing. WP8 could get backend and frontend benefits of Skype replacing MSN, whereas WP7 will get backend benefits, but nothing changes on the phone.
  • That's what the article implies but it's not clear.
  • I'd be happy if I actually got Skype IM's from my friend on my phone, I would say at best 40% of the IM's I am sent actually come through on my phone.  Skype right now is unusable and either have to continue to us IM (built-in) or SMS text.   Same issue on the Windows 8 Metro clients.  Skype is a mess right now and they need to move fast to fix it.
  • They've been quiet about things lately and many are frustrated because of it. Now news and leaks are starting to trickle in. I assume there's some relief among enthusiasts, including me. Lol!!
  • Somewhat, but hearing about minor fixes that should have a 1 week turnaround many weeks later with no actual fix date in sight is still a bit disturbing. And it says nothing of the numerous features and improvements we were all hoping for nearly 6 months post wp8 release. Things really should be moving faster for a mobile platform that is behind feature wise.
  • Look no further than the Photosynth delay to see how fast MS is capable of moving.  The tortoise and the hare metaphor only works if the hare stops to take a break: it isn't.  Skype is worse, dramatically, on WP8 than on either competing platform (iOS, Android).  It is an application, not part of the OS, so updates should be fast and furious until it is at least on par.  But they aren't.  MS is asleep at the wheel.
  • Lately?
    There was a time where MS communicated quickly and completely with regard to updates and user frustratations???
    Sorry, but I'm smiling through the pain...
  • I dont use auto upload to skydrive on my Lumia 920 and my "other" is 7.9 GB so that isnt what is causing it on my phone.
  • Same here. I want a "real" fix.
  • He didn't say SkyDrive photo/video uploads was the only cause, there are obviously other bugs too.
    Try this - worked for me and recovered around 2gb:
  • Doesn't work for everyone. Only got 30MB back on my HTC 8S (the OS takes 2.02GB, my Other folder has 1.08GB, 505.30MB in Apps, which now leaves me with a whopping 8.56MB of free space).
  • Worked wonders for me so far (first run), Went from 4.8gb to 2.57gb with it...a little over 2gb, Impressive on my side.... still the fact of the matter is, my phone's "other" folder is using 2.57gb of space that no one really knows exactly on what it is.
    That is a lot of space when you only have 16gb to start with. I can see losing a few GB on a desktop that has a 100gb or more but, when you only have 16 to start with and the OS takes almost 3 of that....
  • SkyDrive photo uploads only work on WiFi and seems to be in an odd priority. It looks like rather than just maintaining a list of photos to upload it copies pending uploads to "Other" storage. Might be an occasional nuisance, but up less it isn't properly purging them, this will only solve an occasional problem.
  • actually, it's video that is uploaded only on WiFi. photos have the option of cellular or WiFi.
  • So they say, however despite being set to load photos over cellular mine doesn't do it, and they sit around waiting for a WiFi connection. I'm on an AT&T unlimited LTE plan so there's no shortage of bandwidth. Would be interesting to know if anyone else also has this issue?
  • Sorry bro, but ATT doesn't do unlimited LTE plans. You can keep your grandfathered plan, but if you want LTE they make you update to 3 GB.
  • Not true. I and many people I know have grandfathered unlimited LTE. I manage the corporate account for our company and the reps will try to tell you otherwise. They are flat out lying when they say you NEED to change to their metered plans to go LTE. Have had it said to me but the minute I said they were wrong and that i know because i handle our corporate account they did it. Wouldn't be surprised if they get a bonus whenever they trick someone into giving up their unlimited data.
  • You are wrong. I have LTE AND unlimited. If AT&T said you lost the unlimited plan because of the change to LTE, you sir got screwed. Call and get it back.
  • Without even providing an estimated time when these things are likely expected I take little comfort from his tweets.   Wasn't the  Skype integration already talked about by MS awhile back?   The temporary solution to the other storage issue is to turn off syncing to Skydrive, isn't the cloud supposed to be the way to go? :(
  • Maybe a Grand Poobah here could ask Belfiore for additional clarification. He never answers my tweets :D
  • lol he doesn't answer mine either, must be all the retweets on Xbox got me blocked lol
  • Yah. That's our problem :D
  • The shrink storage app in the marketplace is good at recovering that space. I got 6 GB back!
  • for me, didn't help. Removing some games did though, but i still have 4 gbs of other.
  • I pointed that out in a new post thus week. LOVE that App! But the results for people are so variable that it seems that there must be a variety of problems but no way to know what is gong on on your particular phone. Everyone should try the App and see how they do with it!
  • Just like Microsoft keep telling everyone its coming but it never does.
  • Well unless turning off auto upload actually frees space that's already consumed, this 'fix' does squat shit. The auto upload 'feature' is crap anyway, especially considering that you have manually download graphics in emails.
  • Hopefully the other storage can be managed. Instead of one clump of reserved spot, let us control it. In regards to skype, i am on the side that skype should not be an app, it needs to be in the OS like how facetime is and how windows live messenger use to be in the messaging hub. This update for integration is only a fix for the broken integration skype had previously. Remember, the last skype update removed people hub integration because it was broken, this is only putting it back i am assuming. I hope more comes with this update, but in the end, the app needs to go away.
    who gives a shit.
    How about you fix my phone's handling of music for fuck sake, It's atrocious compared to WP7 and the desktop/metro apps are an utter embarrassment to the platform.
    How bout you fix whats been badly fucking broken before you go hunting for that one selling feature you can put in the commercials. Maybe if Belfiore can tweet about how they're righting the wrongs in WP8's core functionality rather than blowing their load on some niche feature that may or may not be used, then I'll take notice.
  • @ seanles A-freakin-men.
  • I put music on my phone with no quarrels at all. Maybe ask someone for some help with it?
  • It's very hit and miss. The sync program has a lot of problems syncing music to WP8 that wouldn't have been a problem with WP7 and the Zune software.
  • @Snarky:
    You're 100% correct about that- the WP8 app for Win8 is completely useless. sure, it moves music over just fine, just so long as you don't also want the cover art to go with it.
    using WMP seemedto be the only surefire way to correctly get both music and cover art over, but i've been working at it for the last several hours trying to figure out why it suddenly isn't working anymore. i spent considerable time reorganizing all media on the card and the phone and it was fine when i went to bed, but when i turned on the phone this morning, all the music was gone as well as most pictures!
    i've made several attempts today trying to figure out why 95% of my albums don't have their artwork, and why some albums have been split in two.
    but i'm so glad they are putting skype at the top of the list, right? it's soooooo important. who cares about basic funtionality that 100% of the user base needs when you can focus on the 2-3% of the people who use skype.
  • neh, i wont stress myself too much on it. waiting for the 7.8 update bfore was enough. let them do what should be done, and will jst update when that time comes then
  • Why don't they let apps install to memory card?
  • Yeah, I hope the "fix" is implementing the use of SD storage, not just fixing a memory leak.
  • I was pretty psyched when Joe Belfiore mentioned skype will be deeply integrated into WP8 which made perfect sense when I heard it, since MS owns Skype right? but the reality is that it's so broke...drains battery and other issues...iOS and Android has even better Skype app...that's pretty embarassing tbh
  • The Android version sure isn't much I run it on my A500.
  • When's the random nokia turnoff update coming?
  • There's a cool app for the storage issue it clears a few GB its called shrink storage! Its pretty cool
  • Lets face it, the biggest problem with "Other" storage is that MS hasn't provided any tool to allow us to what is taking up the room and what App is associated with it. If we had a memory map like that we would be a large Ng way to fixing the problem.
    I wonder if all the chatter here about the App to shrink Other Storage has made MS sit up and take notice. I mean, when people are crying for relief from you OS problems, and Devs start fixing it for you from the outside, it got to he an embarrassment. Not to mention a little scary if people stat digging into protected storage just to make their phones functional.
    There, I said it. Now Belfiore will NEVER answer my Tweets ;-)
  • Lol, all valid, interesting thing, I just got followed by earlier today, pretty happy about it, all hope is not lost ;-)
  • I want a way to put "Other storage" on the SD card with the music and videos.
    I wouldn't care about it so much if I could do that.
  • So we get an acknowledgment to a problem and note about future integration with nothing really solid about when or how. Sounds about right. This is getting old.
  • I can't explain how exciting it is that they are at least letting us know they see the issue and are working on it. The whole silence thing is VERY disconcerting... If they would just communicate better people would be more at ease I think.
  • getting off topic here: i am beginning to believe that WP is a huge train wreck. i am using an SD card to store pictures, music (but not video- it stutters way too much), so i decided that once i moved things from the phone to the SD card, i could delete the files from the phone (using explorer- the WP app for Win8 is total garbage). well now the pictures are inaccessible and the music  (about 10GBs worth), well, the SONGS were still there, but not under 'albums', but under 'songs' (this wasn't the case yesterday when i synced with WMP (the only way to get the metadata over reliably- again, the WP8 app is complete SH!T!).
    and why does the phone automatically turn-on when i plug it in? if i wanted it on, i would make it so.
    there are so many serious issues that MS needs to address; Skype is (should be), the LEAST of their worries.
  • Have you tried putting the sdcard into a PC... you'll get "there's a problem, do you want to scan and fix" say yes and it'll do nothing, then you can eject the card and your photos will be readable. With the card formatted as exFat you have to put it in a PC to sort it. If its formatted as fat32 a reboot of the phone fixes it. .. well that's my experience anyway. (all points to a bad sdcard)
  • You say you have issues with metadata and syncing with wmp fixes it? I hate to break it to you, but wmp literally just copies the files over and that's it. You can do the same yourself with explorer. Any and all metadata issues are in the tags of your songs. Sure, WP could be smarter about handling invalid tags, but if you have everything set up right like I do, I think you'll find that it all works perfectly fine. As for the boot loader turning the phone on when an external power source is present, it's a trade off feature. When you really need your phone and the battery is completely drained, the boot loader automatically handles the charging of the device until there is enough juice to successfully boot up and run without losing power (external power is not used during the boot process). So it gets your phone up and running asap, which is a *very good thing*. Well worth the mild inconvenience of not being able to keep it off.
  • FaceTime People Hub integration? Skype is pretty unusable
  • I'd really like to see a Google Voice type integration via the Skype service. I mean, if I could move my SMS and phone calls strickly to Skype (maybe use Verizon for the actual call via my Skype number), that would be gold.
  • I'm not sure why that didn't come with WP8 tbh. It really is the obvious way to go. It seems like they're trying to be 3rd party friendly by not promoting their own solution too much and allowing other apps to plug into the video calling interface, but WP needs to be a) finished and feature rich and b) have lots of users (not going to happen without a) for 3rd party devs to actually care enough to make good apps.
    As an end user I'd much prefer deep integration over a level playing field for video calling apps, and seeing as the other platforms have it MS are just hurting themselves here.
  • Ny other usage shows 8.03 GB used very frustrating since my 920 has no SD card slot that sucks.
    Does everyone remember in the beginning when the Nokia Lumia 920 first got announced Joe said the phones would have basic storage and the consumers could add what they want for storage, where's that storage on my 920 he talked about?
    I was very disappointed but love the phone still.
    On the next 920 replacement should have a micro SD card slot I hope.
    32 GB'S in a music,video,pics,gaming world come on Nokia get real.
  • Hopefully soon we can change our skype online, away, invisabe status and people hub will be owsome
  • As far as Skype integration goes yes it should be, then everytime I get a new phone I won't have to go get it it will already be there.
  • I am sure this is not a solution for everybody, but I simply do a phone reset, once in a month or two. It takes roughly a few minutes and another ten minutes max to get my standard list of apps. Also, the SkyDrive backup takes care of messages and settings, so nothing is lost.
  • Are you sure about that? I didn't try it yet because I am really scared of losing important data and/or savefiles from games. Are those also included in the cloud back-up or xbox or something else
  • I believe you lose your save games and any content downloaded within apps (unless those apps have their own independent backups, which is pretty rare). You'll also lose your icon arrangement on your start screen which may be fine for some, but takes me a long time to set up.
  • Ah thnx. Now i now i don't wanna do it anymore :P
  • "I am sure this is not a solution for everybody, but I simply do a phone reset, once in a month or two." Yeah definitely not a solution for everybody. Nobody should have to go through that, not even once in a while.
  • Sounding like something may happen somewhere, somehow at some point in time. Come on Microsoft I'm a Windows Phone supporters but you need to do better!
  • More rumors, no dates and no action. I love my 920 but I'm done with this platform. Joe Beliofore, go suck a 920.
  • I have 14.8GB of "Other" and nothing has helped free it up?
  • Hopefully they will fix the storage problem with the SD cards as well, I've been having a nightmare with my Nokia Lumia 820 when it comes to putting music and films on my phone, and all the other problems the SD card causes with the WiFi, Bluetooth and freezing/resetting of the phone that all stop as soon as I take the SD card out of the phone.
  • What about all the promised Nokia apps?
  • Due to the several issues I keep reading for the New OS, do you guys recommend I wait until 2014 to upgrade to the new WP OS?
  • I would recommend you hold off on upgrading to the new OS.  Let me put it this way MS may indeed gain market share in the future, but the future is not now.  Many things people are asking for are available on competing platforms, so why not use those platforms and let other people beta test :).  Who knows if MS won't get the urge to reboot the platform again with their market share in the low single digits in most places.  I own a 920 and as it stands now I can't recommend WP to anyone, but the most diehard MS fan.
  • I agree with you!!!
  • I agree. My 920 is handed in for service for rebooting and shutting down for the second time. I don't expect them to be able to fix it. I actually hope it happens a third time so I can claim a refund. I'm going back to iPhone no matter what. at this point I just want a phone I don't have to check every ten minutes to see if it's still on.
  • I've been a WP user since WP7 launch day, and I support this message.
    If you want to constantly wait for 'the little engine that maybe someday could', but never actually have a product that is as good as the competition offers, then WP is for you.
    Person to person: pick another platform for a few years and wait to see if this one tanks. Based on MS's constant promises and subsequent failure to deliver, I think people's patience for subpar performance and constant waiting will hit a wall.
  • Gettign really annoying how they break things that were working before. Now I can't get skype to use the back camera, only the front-facing one. And you can't use landscape orientation anymore either. 
  • I still have over 19gb of free space. What are people complaining about.
  • Having a HTC 8S, this becomes a real problem. 350mb of apps. 1.70GB of system, and 1.3GB of other? I have 300mb free. The right to complain just got taken...
  • Some day we will fix your 7.5GB of Other.  In the meantime, don't use the intergrated features we sold you on.   
    Thanks Joe!  
  • My life just improved by 72%.
  • And another update comes out for IOS: