Amazon Cloud Rains on Apple’s Parade

Amazon today rolled out it’s Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services to US customers.

In a nutshell this lets you upload music to Amazon’s servers then stream and download  them to any computer or Android phone you like, anywhere.

US users get 5GB free which expands to 20 GB – also free – as soon as they buy an mp3 album.  Bigger packages are available, starting at $20 a year.

Here’s why this is cool; no more synching, just put your music on Amazon’s Cloud Drive and you can listen anywhere you want. Got a new phone? No need to copy anything across. Computer gone wrong? Not a problem. Want to play a song at work or a friend’s house? Easy.

Amazon aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts though, it’s a way of adding value to their online music store, and a middle finger up at Apple to boot.  Amazon’s new service supports music purchased from iTunes, but ironically there’s no iPhone app so iPhone owners won’t be able to stream from the Amazon cloud.

This is great news for Android users as it finally provides a credible music store. Android has really lacked a solid iTunes alternative until now but this could be it, and with the benefits of cloud storage and streaming too.

Lately there have been some well founded rumours that Google are planning a similar service that would allow users to upload music and stream it to Android devices and computers, but Amazon have beaten everyone to the punch here.

From a site selling books to a service provider and, with it’s kindle, a hardware manufacturer, Amazon could well be as disruptive a force as Google in years to come.

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