Amazon Cloud Drive: 7 Key Facts

Amazon.com this week announced a brand new online storage service and associated Web-based music player, called Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player, respectively. CIO.com's mobile maestro Al Sacco breaks down what you need to know about new cloud service--the good and the bad.

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Wed, March 30, 2011

CIO — Amazon.com beat Google (GOOG) and Apple to punch this week with the unveiling of its hosted consumer-storage service, Amazon Cloud Drive, and Web-based music-player, Cloud Player.

Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player on Mac
Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player on Mac

Amazon has offered cloud storage and Web services for some time, but this latest offering is noteworthy because it's available to just about anyone. And it's free.

Here's a look at why Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player might be perfect for your online storage needs...and why it might not.

1) Amazon Cloud Drive Availability

Amazon's Cloud Drive service and Cloud Player are available to any and all Amazon.com customers with Internet access, regardless of geographic location, though some customers will not be able to upgrade or expand their initially allotted storage space, at least for the time being. No purchase is necessary to employ Cloud Drive; you can simply upload music already stored on your computer to get started.

All Amazon customers get 5GB of free Cloud Drive storage, and the company is offering an additional 15GB of "free" storage, for a total of 20GB, to any U.S. customer who purchases an album from Amazon MP3, the official Amazon digital music store, for a limited time.

However, storage capacity upgrades are currently unavailable in a number of countries and locales, including the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. (For a complete list of countries that have access to only the free 5GB of Amazon cloud storage, visit Amazon's Web page.)

2) Amazon's Cloud Drive is Not Just for Music

Amazon focuses on music storage and playback in its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player announcements, but users can store many different kinds of content in addition to tunes, according to an online letter to customers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

"Store your photos, videos, documents, and whatever you'd like, in the cloud," Bezos wrote.

But, again, you must use a PC or Mac to upload content to Amazon's cloud.

3) Limited Amazon Cloud Mobile-Device Support

The Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services work with any Mac, PC or Android mobile device, but users on other mobile platforms are out of luck, for now at least.

Some crafty iPhone users have come up with a couple of "workarounds" to enable Cloud Drive music playback, but it's a rather tedious process.

You can access and download music stored in Amazon's Cloud Drive, but you cannot upload media from an Android device to Amazon's servers; you currently need to employ a PC or Mac to upload content.

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