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 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.
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 needs a way to hold on to its music customers in a post-CD era, and tightly integrating its new cloud music service with Amazon MP3 purchases might help it do that, but the concept of a "music locker" is not exactly the most innovative approach and could face licensing issues, according to analysts.
Earlier this week Amazon unveiled a new cloud-based music service that provides users with up to 5GB of free, online music storage, and 20GB of free access for a year if they purchase an album via Amazon MP3. Beyond that, it's $20.
"Amazon needs to establish a strong post-CD role for its music customers, [and] this smartly positioned locker service is an important first step in building that future role," Mark Mulligan, a Forrester research analyst, wrote in a blog post.
Mulligan cautioned, however, that Amazon Cloud Player is not exactly revolutionary. "As logical a next step in the digital music market as locker services might be, they're not an innovation in the music product. They're simply giving people access to the music they have on the devices they own."
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.