Yesterday Amazon announced and released their new cloud-based services. At the time of this writing, their homepage has a letter from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, welcoming Amazon shoppers to the cloud. It consists of two new services called Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, and was made with digital music purchases in mind. Of course you can store almost anything you want on the cloud, but Amazon is heavily promoting it as a place to keep, and playback, your music collection.
As they say, it’s where you can purchase music, store it and listen to it from anywhere. This means the ability to purchase whether you are at home or at work without the need to worry about transferring it over to another computer or your mobile device later.
Let’s take a look at some of the things worth knowing about Amazon’s new service:
1) 5GB Free
Amazon is offering 5GB of free storage for their users. That’s a lot of space for a free service. Amazon says that this is “yours to use as you like and you will never be charged for it.” It’s also worth noting that the letter on Amazon’s homepage mentions that “new purchases from the Amazon MP4 Store are stored for free and do not count against your storage quota.”
Amazon has a few pricing plans, and they all cater to different needs. There is the free 5GB plan, and then there are additional ones that run $1/GB per year. So 20GB a year would run you $20. Here’s Amazon’s official pricing chart, direct from their information page:
3) Purchase an Album, and they will give you 20GB for a full year
This is one of the cool things, but it sounds to us like a temporary promotion. Those who purchase a full MP3 album from Amazon get 20GB of storage for a year effective from the date you buy it. They make sure to mention that you can hold on to that for a year, and if you do nothing, they will drop you back down to the 5GB plan, so you don’t need to worry about paying again. We do wonder, however, what happens to any data you may have if you store more than 20GB. Remember, they say that music you buy doesn’t count against your storage limit.
4) This Smells of Amazon’s Step to Combat Apple’s iTunes
This is nice. It’s good to see someone with some real clout and knowledge in digital distribution take on Apple. For a long time, Apple has controlled a good portion of digital distribution. That may not change anytime soon. However, Amazon is doing a heck of a job by introducing this service. The idea is that you can purchase any music you want, from anywhere you want and you have quick and instant access to it. This could definitely combat Apple’s future plans to introduce a music locker service. If anything, it gives Apple something to compete with. Apple has some great stuff, but we don’t think they should be allowed to feel untouchable forever.
5) Works for Android, not iOS
Right now it works with Android as an app. It’s also worth pointing out that there is no desktop application, which means navigating to Amazon’s website. That’s great for use when you’re not home, but we definitely like to have a simple application that lets us access our stuff on our computer. Think Dropbox. As for iOS? Sorry. Not yet. There is no iPhone or iPad App and it the uploader is Flash-based because we tried it on the iPad and were met with the “Oops, Adobe Flash Player is required to upload files.” Oh well, maybe soon. They need that iOS market if they want to pull in Apple’s users as well.
Bringing the Cloud to All
Right now, if I were to ask my mom about cloud storage, she’d say “Son, what the hell are you talking about?” That’s because most of these services seem to go mostly noticed by a few who need or like remote storage. A service like Amazon, however, is something many are familiar with. It’s a name they already trust and many already have all the required information filled out. It’s only a matter of going to Amazon and signing in.
Once they realize how convenient it can be to back up your files on a remote server, they will start using it more often. It’s always nice to have space set aside somewhere for files that can be hard to replace. It’s also nice to have access to it from any computer you may have to sign on to at the time.
This may be the beginnings of cloud storage becoming a common thing.