Amazon has announced that it's Cloud Drive storage locker is now accessible from PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, and web browser, allowing you to sync your documents across all of your devices with the reliance of Amazon in the background. This puts the Amazon Cloud Drive, which gives users a free 5 GB of storage space, in direct competition with services like Dropbox.
Amazon had one final trick up its sleeve during today's Kindle event, showing off a new Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE wireless built-in. The 8.9-inch Kindle tablet offers the same features as the base Kindle Fire HD 8.9, but packs in an AT&T 4G LTE modem and 32GB of storage space. Additionally, Amazon has worked in a killer deal for this model, as buyers can opt to pay a yearly $49.99 fee for 250 MB or 4G data per month. They'll also receive 20 GB of additional Amazon Cloud Drive storage and $10 in Amazon Appstore credit. 250 MB of monthly data may not sound like much, but it's an incredible deal at $50 per year. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with 4G LTE Wireless starts at $499. That's $130 more than the 32GB non-LTE model, but it's still much less than $$739 32GB iPad + Cellular tablet. You can order the Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE now, and it'll ship November 20th.
Read More | Amazon Kindle HD 8.9" 4G LTE
Amazon on Wednesday unveiled its Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5-based reading app accessible via the Web.
The feature is accessible at amazon.com/cloudreader and provides access to e-books through the browser, offline and online, with no downloading or installation required, Amazon said. Cloud Reader will automatically sync with other Kindle apps, allowing you to start reading on the Web and pick up on an iPhone or Kindle, for example. Books that you are reading will automatically be made available for offline use.
At this point, Kindle Cloud Reader works with Safari on the iPad and desktop and Google's Chrome.
A few weeks back, I wrote a column discussing the tablet that Amazon is rumored to introduce this fall. Since then, I have heard a few more things about this tablet that are quite interesting. In my last column on this topic, I stated that the center of its design would be on reading books. That appears to be true, as multiple sources tell me that it will have the best reading experience of any tablet on the market. But, I am also hearing that Amazon is using pretty low-cost parts and not using any of the major manufacturers that are producing most of the tablets for mainstream competitors. Apparently, the company's key goal is to make the tablet very inexpensive and then use a new business model to own the Android tablet market.
I believe that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows that all of the other Android vendors are at a big disadvantage when it comes to competing with Apple. Apple has a two-year lead on them, a great app store and services program, and a soon-to-be-key technology, the iCloud, which will keep all iOS apps and devices in-sync. And it has 250 million users' credit cards and hundreds of retail stores to help people learn about the iPad and buy one on the spot. None of the other tablet vendors can even come close to matching what Apple has to offer, except maybe Amazon. Although Amazon does not have retail stores like Apple does, it does have an Appstore for Android, music and movies for downloading, the Amazon Cloud Drive for storage, and the credit cards of 200+ million users. It also has limited channel partners, like Best Buy, that it could expand as well. But, I hear that while its tablet could marginally compete against Apple, this is not the company Amazon is going after with its tablet offering. It is smarter than that. Rather, I believe Amazon's goal is to be the market leader in Android and be the top seller of tablets with this mobile OS.
Amazon said late Wednesday that it will allow customers to store an unlimited amount of music on its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, provided customers purchase a storage plan.
Amazon also announced a Cloud Player web app for the Apple iPad.
Amazon launched its Cloud Player in March, a companion to the Amazon Cloud Drive. At the time, the service came with up to 5GB of free, online music storage, expandable to 20 GB with the purchase of an MP3 album at the Amazon Music Store.
Additional storage plans start at $20 per year for 20 Gbytes of storage.
To encourage users to subscribe to those premium plans, Amazon is effectively eliminating MP3 files against that tally, allowing users to store 20 Gbytes of photos (or documents, or other content), rather than divvy it up. Amazon also said that users can store all of their MP3 or AAC files that they purchased through Amazon for free, and they won't count against the quota, either. Those files cover new files that a user might purchase as well as older files that a user bought before the new promotion.
I have been watching Amazon's recent moves involving Android with great fascination. Two weeks ago, it launched the Amazon Appstore that focuses on Android apps, and last week it announced a cloud-based music service with a special version just for Android. Although Google has its own Android Marketplace, Amazon is bringing a more structured store to Android with room for users comments and reviews—a key step to vetting the apps it carries.
This is a very strategic move by Amazon, and it could actually bring some sanity and consistency to the Android development community and all Android users. At the moment, Google's approach to creating Android is scattered. There are so many versions of this OS floating around that the OEMs who license Android are increasingly frustrated with Google's lack of discipline in laying out a consistent roadmap for Android that they can follow.
At first, Google said it would have one version of Android for smartphones and another for tablets. Now it says that it will merge both versions into a product codenamed Ice Cream and that it most likely will be the same OS used on Google TVs in the future as well. Initially, vendors could only use one version for devices with up to 7 inch screens and another one for screens larger then 7 inches but less then 11 inches.
Amazon unveiled its new cloud-based music service today, which will provide users with up to 5GB of free, online music storage.
The company is offering Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon Cloud Player for Web, and Amazon Cloud Player for Android, all of which will let users upload their music collections to the cloud and access those songs on Android phones and tablets, as well as the PC and Mac.
No word on an iOS version, but Amazon recently launched an Amazon Appstore, so it's focus at the moment is likely on the Google-owned platform.
Amazon will provide users with 5GB of free storage. Those who purchase an album via Amazon's MP3 store will get 20GB of free storage for one year; albums purchased via Amazon MP3 are automatically added to Amazon's cloud service and do not count against a user's storage quota. Additional storage plans start at $20 per year, Amazon said.
Users can upload songs in AAC or MP3 formats, and can select certain songs, artists, or albums, or just upload the entire music library.
"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," Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon, said in a statement.