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Amazon intros Cloud Drive and Cloud Player [U]

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Tue March 29, 2011

Now official for web, Android devices

[Update: Sony, other media companies upset by early announcement] Amazon in the night unveiled its rumored media locker and beat Apple and Google in the process. Cloud Drive gives users a way to store a minimum of 5GB of files on the web and access them from any Mac or PC. The company has a unique tie-in with Amazon MP3: any songs bought through the music store are saved to the Cloud Drive and available either for backup or for remote streaming without counting towards the quota.

Accordingly, the company has both a Cloud Player for Web and an updated version of Amazon MP3 for Android (free, Market). Both can play music stored on the Player without needing a third-party app or otherwise raw access.

The retailer's rush to get the service active without complete music licensing is evident in the lack of true sync. Music uploads are only possible from computers and thus won't let Android users backup their Amazon MP3 purchases to work truly independently from a computer. It wouldn't explain why and said it was simply "not possible at this time." Leaks have hinted that labels have been pressing for a second charge to allow media uploads under certain conditions.

AppleInsider is reporting that Sony and other parties involved in the negotiations are upset by the fact that the service has gone "live" without licenses in place, with some viewing the move as illegal. A Sony spokesperson said the company was "keeping its legal options open," while expressing hope that the two companies could soon come to an agreement.

US-based Amazon users can get 5GB of space for free but get an incentive to upgrade early. Anyone who buys an Amazon MP3 album in 2011 will automatically be upgraded to 20GB of space for the year from the sale. The extra capacity would otherwise cost $20 per year. Tiers exist to provide 50GB, 100GB, 200GB, 500GB and 1TB, all of which cost $1 per year for every gigabyte of storage. Using the Cloud Player on the web needs Chrome, Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 8, or Safari; Amazon MP3 needs at least Android 1.6.

The move is a minor surprise. Amazon already had its S3 storage service for businesses, but Apple and Google were both known to be negotiating for longer. Apple is believed to be tying in its media locker with MobileMe and has hinted it might come as soon as the spring, once its North Carolina datacenter goes live. Google, meanwhile, is still negotiating Google Music after nearly a year, likely due to the same licensing limits faced by Amazon.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Yey! A Service Nobody Asked for!

    Great, a service that NOBODY is asking for. I already get two a few gigs that SYNC with Drop box, happens in the background without a thought. Why on earth would I want to stream music to my computer that I've paid for, instead of just storing it locally on my hard drive? Seems like a great way to eat up my monthly bandwidth allowance for no real up side. Also seems like a great way to clog the American networks.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    im dropping itunes altogether now!!

    on second thought, naw.

  1. davidlfoster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005


    20GB online storage for $5... a pretty good deal. You don't have to use it for music either. I tried it out tonight and everything worked just fine. There are a number of albums of good music available for just $5 and all you have to do is just purchase one to get upgraded from 5 to 20 GB of storage. And the album you buy to get the upgrade is immediately streamable from your 20GB cloud.

    Competition is good. Let's see what the other players do to compete with this deal.

  1. vinnieA2

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2005


    yes but

    For a service that wants you to store all your non-DRM music files, the problem for most people who have a lot of MP3s is that it will likely take you FOREVER to upload several gigabytes of these files. You can download at 10Mbps, but my service provider only manages 0.95Mbps upload speeds. And, yes, given that hard disk space is cheap and bandwidth is not, I am certainly not thinking that streaming from the cloud is such a great idea.

    And the cloud is great... until it goes down or you are unable to access a file you need at a critical time. Of course, we all know nothing like that will ever happen...

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