Apple and Google 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 Android smartphone.
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 example, purchase 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.
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