Seduced by a great deal, I am now an Amazon Cloud customer. Cloud technology is picking up steam, and recently both Amazon and Google have made a push in marketing their cloud-based music players. I just started using the Amazon Cloud; here are my initial thoughts.
My Intro to the Amazon Cloud
I didn’t set out with the intention of becoming an Amazon Cloud user. To the contrary, I just wanted a good deal. I was captivated by the offer of Lady Gaga’s new album for only 99 cents. It turned out to be an even better deal than I had imagined because I found that I had a promotion for 99 cents off my next mp3 purchase from Amazon, so it actually didn’t cost me anything. After purchasing the album, I was greeted with an offer for a free Cloud Drive account. Amazon offers a free version of this service to anyone with an Amazon account, but (for the time being) if you purchase an entire album, they’ll give a free upgrade from the basic 5 GB of storage on their cloud service to 20 GB for a full year. I thought there wasn’t anything to lose, so I signed up.
How the Amazon Cloud works
The Amazon Cloud Drive operates like a portable storage drive, but instead of carrying it around on your key chain or in your pocket, it keeps your files on a server out on the interwebs on the Amazon S3 network somewhere for easy access wherever you are. This frees you from the burden of carrying the drive, but access is limited to 8 devices. Like any other storage drive, you can store your files in the folders created for you (or make custom folders), move or rename files, and delete them if you need to free up space. I was lured in because of music serving (either mp3 or AAC), but the Amazon Cloud Drive can handle other file types as well; photos, videos, and documents can also be stored in your Cloud. Uploading and downloading files to the Amazon Cloud Drive is a simple process with Amazon’s web apps.
The Amazon Cloud Music Player
One of the main features of the Amazon Cloud Drive is the Music Player. The player gives you the ability to stream mp3’s and DRM-free AAC files from your drive on either a computer or an Android device. This is beneficial because you don’t have to actually download the file to the device you are using in order to listen to it. The option is always there, though, in case you do have a need to download the files.
The Amazon Cloud Player does Android
One of the things I love about Amazon’s services is that they are very Android–(and therefore EVO)–friendly. After I got accustomed to using the Cloud on my desktop and laptop, I fired up the Android Market and downloaded the Amazon Cloud Player App on my EVO. It’s a quite useful app. The player will play any music that you have on your device as well as any music you have on your Cloud Drive. You can stream the music from your Cloud Drive (which is beneficial if you are running out of space on your EVO’s SD-card). You can also download the music from your Cloud Drive to your device if you have a need to. This can be useful if you are going to be in a place with poor reception, or if you want to minimize your data usage. I have a Sprint plan with unlimited data usage, so that isn’t an issue for me, but I understand that there are many Android users out there who do not have this luxury. I streamed my music over Sprint’s 3G network since 4G is not available in my market at this time, and the playback was for the most part seamless.
So far, I am pleased with the Amazon Cloud Drive. It does what it says it will — and does it quite well. But the real question, is it worth it? As I mentioned, a free 5GB account is available to anyone with an Amazon account. This is a good place to start, but 5GB isn’t really that much, especially if you are using it mostly for music files (I have about 60GB of music files on my computer at home). A free upgrade to 20GB sweetens the deal, but I doubt I will keep my 20GB subscription once the free year is over and the price goes to $20 per year.
It’s a useful service, but personally, I have the same capabilities with my own set-up, without any help from Amazon. I have my home router configured to operate as a virtual private network (VPN) that I can connect to with my EVO, and I have both a Samba file share and a DAAP media server on my Ubuntu Server. Using a Samba and DAAP client on my EVO provides me with the same capabilities as the Amazon Cloud Player App.
For those without these capabilities on their own, there is a lot of potential for the Amazon Cloud, and it is certainly easier to use than my personal set-up.
Are you still waiting to start your Cloud Drive account? Get started here.
Have you tried the Amazon Cloud? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.