Saturday, April 16, 2011

Amazon Cloud Drive Impresses So Far

On March 31, I made a post about the Amazon Cloud Drive. At the time I was simply reporting on the news... that Amazon was allowing users to purchase music from their MP3 store and then store those files online 'in the cloud' with free 5GB of storage. The Cloud Drive allows you to stream this music to your device via an app or browser as long as you have an Internet connection.

I've been an Amazon MP3 customer for several years now. I started with Amazon because they didn't encrypt their music. This meant I could buy a song and then listen to it on any device I owned. Over time as other services, like iTunes changes to this model, I stuck with Amazon, mainly to show loyalty for their effort to become the first to do it. They also have pretty tight integration with the Mac platform which, for me, is a nice feature.

This week I went to the Amazon MP3 store to grab a couple of songs and as I went through the process of authorizing my purchases, I was informed that my purchases would be stored on my Cloud Drive. Because I'm a frequent Amazon customer, I was upgraded to a 20GB account at no charge. Personally I thought that was great customer service.

The Cloud Drive is an impressive feature in my limited experience with it. When you make a purchase, the file is automatically added to your Cloud Drive. You also have the option of downloading it to your device, but if you aren't planning to be off the grid, I don't see much reason to. All your files are stored and backed up by Amazon and your collection is fully searchable.

Streaming is easy and even with a 3G wireless connection, the music sounded good and played back with no hiccups.

I put the Cloud Drive to a good test today. On Thursday I was in San Diego giving a lecture and flew home to KC early Friday morning. The Southwest flight I was on was Wifi enabled and for the low, low price of $5, I had Wifi for the entire journey halfway across the US.

While I was cruising along at 35,000 feet, I decided to buy a song and listen to it. The download was easy... and the playback? Crystal clear and smooth with no stalls or interruptions at all. Now to me, that was a pretty good test. The music had to go from Amazon to wherever the Southwest provider (Row44) has its satellite transmission equipment located. From there the signal is broadcast to a satellite which then retransmits the data to the Wifi equipped Southwest jet.

Sound complicated? It is... And yet Amazon and Southwest pulled it off nicely. So I'm recommending the Cloud Drive for music storage and playback, however do remember that I don't have hours and hours with it. I truly think this is an idea whose time has come.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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