Friday, July 08, 2011

Amazon.com's Cloud Player optimizes Web player for iPad, adds cheap unlimited storage

Amazon.com has announced changes to its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services, which allow end users to upload their music files to an Internet-based file locker and play them directly from there. The changes will allow its cloud services to better compete with Apple's iCloud service.

Protect your Important Computer FilesUnlike the upcoming Apple service, the Amazon program which was announced in late March, requires users to upload their music files (iCloud also includes more than just music as its service, and is more like MobileMe on steroids, with a cloud music service added). It comes with 5GB of free storage, but also offers data tiers for additional storage.

5GB isn't really that much for those with high quality tracks, and since Apple's service doesn't require uploading (at least for iTunes-purchased tracks), Amazon.com has made a change to its data tier pricing. For a "limited" time, users can purchase the lowest data tier, which was $20 for 20GB, and instead receive unlimited storage.

Customers who qualified for the 20GB tier for free, as a result of earlier promotions, such as buying an MP3 album, will receive the unlimited space promotion automatically, at no additional cost.

Additionally, Cloud Drive customers can now store all MP3s purchased from the Amazon MP3 music store for free. That includes those purchased before the Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services were launched, which is a change from earlier.

In addition, Amazon.com has announced that its announced that its Cloud Player for the Web is now available on the iPad, and that it’s been optimized for use with the Safari browser. At first, as we noted, the Web-based Cloud Player wouldn't even work on iDevices, but later the service "suddenly" started to work, sans fanfare.

Livedrive Simple, Secure Online BackupAmazon.com, as well as Google, have both launched cloud-based music services. In their haste to beat Apple to the cloud, both of them launched without licenses. That means that end users have to upload their music to "storage lockers."

Meanwhile, Apple managed to get licenses in place, and users will be able to use "scan-and-match" technology, whereby iTunes will scan their computer for music files and "match" them against master files already on Apple's servers. When a user wants to play a track, he does so using Apple's copy, even if it is of higher quality than his or her own.



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