are both preparing their own cloud-based storage services for multimedia files,
but Amazon today beat them both to the punch with Cloud
Drive. Cloud Drive allows users to stream/upload music to a PC, Mac, or
Interestingly, iOS devices are left out of the
mix with this first iteration of Cloud Drive, but this should come as no
surprise given Amazon's
close relationship with the Android platform.
All of Amazon's customers get an instant 5GB of
online storage for free. In addition, whenever a customer purchases an MP3 or
album from Amazon's MP3 store, it is automatically saved to Cloud Drive (Amazon
MP3 purchases do not count towards your storage count). Customers can then
playback the music using the Cloud Player for PC/Mac or Android.
Likewise, music files can be uploaded to your
Cloud Drive using the Cloud Player -- DRM-free MP3 and ACC files are supported.
Although it appears that only music files can be played back using the Cloud
Player, users can upload any kind of file they choose to the “digital locker”
including movies, documents, and photos.
"We're excited to take this leap forward in
the digital experience," said Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and
Music at Amazon. "The launch of Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web and
Cloud Player for Android eliminates the need for constant software updates as
well as the use of thumb drives and cables to move and manage music."
"Our customers have told us they don't want
to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard
to move music around to different devices," Carr said. "Now, whether
at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it
in the cloud and play it anywhere."
As an added bonus, Amazon customers are upgraded
to 20GB of Cloud Drive space for free if they purchase an MP3 album (for
this cheesy Glee album for $0.69 and you'll be upgraded to the 20GB service
for one year). You can read the complete FAQ for Cloud Drive here.
It’s quite sobering that these great new
streaming services are being offered (or soon to be offered) by these large tech
companies when at the same time service providers are trying to strangle
customers with bandwidth caps. While uploading and streaming music from a
desktop or notebook computer using your home broadband connection might not be
enough to raise any flags, you may want to be careful about going crazy with
this service on more
limited mobile data plans.