Cloud Computing: Amazon Cloud Drive and Player Aims for Ease of Use, Big Storage
Amazon.com's new cloud-based service, which allows customers to upload their music to the online retailer's Cloud Drive and play songs via a Cloud Player, is a heavy salvo against both Google and Apple in the digital-music wars. By leveraging its already extensive cloud assets, Amazon has outpaced its largest competitors in offering an online music locker, something Google and Apple reportedly have in the works.??íAmazon.com customers are being offered 5GB of free storage for their music on Amazon Cloud Drive, with an upgrade to 20GB for a year if the user purchases an Amazon MP3 album. Songs purchased from Amazon MP3 are stored in Cloud Drive without counting toward the user's overall storage total. While Amazon's Cloud Player supports the Web and Android, there is no native application for Apple's iOS franchise, which includes the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Nor does the cloud player support RIM's BlackBerry or Palm, now owned by Hewlett-Packard. ??íFees for Amazon's online locker start at $20 per year for 20GB of space, rising to $1,000 per year for 1,000GB. If you're the cost-adverse type, and driven by the overwhelming urge to place all your music in the cloud, and own a ton of music, then Amazon's pay structure could be a turnoff. Similarly, those who want to listen to their music without an omnipresent Web connection will likely stick with traditional, hard-drive-based storage. But for those who want easy-to-use storage bound to a stripped-down, no-frills streaming-music player, Amazon could be offering the service for you.