29 March 2011

Amazon Cloud Storage

I've been looking at the Storage ecosystem that Amazon released today as part of it's "Cloud Drive" system, and I'll admit I'm impressed with what I see.  I'm thinking from the view of a "regular" user:
  • The system is available to any Amazon.com customer (at least in the US and UK right now).  You get 5GB of storage by default.  If you buy an album from them this year, you're automatically given a free subscription to their 20GB service for one year.
  • You can easily upload your existing music using the Amazon MP3 Uploader, an Adobe AIR-made program, which I assume works on Windows, Mac, and even Linux.  It can easily find music automatically, or you can specify where to look.
  • This music that's uploaded can be listened to from a web browser from anywhere.
  • The corresponding Android app (that was typically used only to purchase MP3's) now also works as a streaming music player -- additionally, MP3's you upload to the Cloud Drive service can also be downloaded to your phone's storage for local playing.  This can be setup to happen automatically whenever something is uploaded to your Cloud Drive.
  • MP3's you purchase on Amazon can now be automatically added to your Cloud Drive.  You can choose to download these whenever you want -- MP3's added in this automatic way upon purchase do NOT count towards your 5GB limit.
Honestly, I'm incredibly surprised.  They beat both Apple and Google to the punch with a cloud music service -- Google, especially, who promised it at last years Google IO conference.

Now, nobody knows what kinds of deals they had to make the various record companies in order to get their "compliance" (even if you argue that it isn't needed), and they could get sued to the moon and back tomorrow, but for now, I'm applauding Android.