Amazon Launches Cloud-Based Storage Service and Music Player

091605 amazon cloud drive

Amazon today unveiled a pair of cloud-based offerings designed to allow users to store music and other digital content in the cloud and to play cloud-hosted music tracks via players for the Web and on Android.

Amazon Cloud Drive is the new storage service, with the company offering users 5 GB of space free of charge. Additional capacity is available through paid plans at six different tiers priced at a uniform $1 per GB per year, starting at 20 GB ($20) and ranging up to 1000 GB ($1000).

As a bonus offer, customers who purchase an album from the Amazon MP3 Store before December 31st will receive a free one-year upgrade to the 20 GB level. In addition, any music content purchased through the Amazon MP3 Store and stored in Amazon Cloud Drive does not count toward a user's storage limit.

Amazon Cloud Player is the mechanism by which music stored in Amazon Cloud Drive can be played. The company offers a Web player compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, targeting both PCs and Macs. In addition, Amazon offers a downloadable app for Android devices to allow content to played on the mobile platform. Other mobile platforms such as iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone are not supported, and the Web player does not function under iOS, rendering Apple's mobile devices incompatible with the service.

Apple has been rumored to be developing its own cloud-based "digital locker" solution focused on music and perhaps video, reportedly coming as a revamp to the company's MobileMe services. According to one recent report, Apple has finally reached a deal with Warner Brothers to permit the cloud-based storage and is pushing to get other labels to fall in line for an April launch of the new service, said to be priced at $20 per year for an undisclosed amount of storage space.

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