Amazon Cloud drive: 7 key facts beat Google and Apple to punch this week with the unveiling of its hosted consumer-storage service, Amazon Cloud Drive, and Web-based music-player, Cloud Player. beat Google and Apple to punch this week with the unveiling of its hosted consumer-storage service, Amazon Cloud Drive, and Web-based music-player, Cloud Player.

Amazon has offered cloud storage and Web services for some time, but this latest offering is noteworthy because it's available to just about anyone. And it's free.

Here's a look at why Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player might be perfect for your online storage needs...and why it might not.

1) Amazon Cloud Drive Availability

Amazon's Cloud Drive service and Cloud Player are available to any and all customers with Internet access, regardless of geographic location, though some customers will not be able to upgrade or expand their initially allotted storage space, at least for the time being. No purchase is necessary to employ Cloud Drive; you can simply upload music already stored on your computer to get started.

All Amazon customers get 5GB of free Cloud Drive storage, and the company is offering an additional 15GB of "free" storage, for a total of 20GB, to any U.S. customer who purchases an album from Amazon MP3, the official Amazon digital music store, for a limited time.

However, storage capacity upgrades are currently unavailable in a number of countries and locales, including the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. (For a complete list of countries that have access to only the free 5GB of Amazon cloud storage, visit Amazon's Web page.)

2) Amazon's Cloud Drive is Not Just for Music

Amazon focuses on music storage and playback in its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player announcements, but users can store many different kinds of content in addition to tunes, according to an online letter to customers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

"Store your photos, videos, documents, and whatever you'd like, in the cloud," Bezos wrote.

But, again, you must use a PC or Mac to upload content to Amazon's cloud.

3) Limited Amazon Cloud Mobile-Device Support

The Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services work with any Mac, PC or Android mobile device, but users on other mobile platforms are out of luck, for now at least.

Some crafty iPhone users have come up with a couple of "workarounds" to enable Cloud Drive music playback, but it's a rather tedious process.

You can access and download music stored in Amazon's Cloud Drive, but you cannot upload media from an Android device to Amazon's servers; you currently need to employ a PC or Mac to upload content.

4) Unlimited Access to Amazon Cloud Drive

One of the coolest things about Amazon Cloud Drive and the Cloud Player is that they can be used via any Internet-connected Mac, PC or Android smartphone, with no maximum number of devices that can access your storage. In other words, you can simply log in to your account to play and download your files using any Web connected computer or Android phone, from wherever you may be.

5) Amazon Cloud Drive is "Secure"...But is it Reliable?

From Amazon:

"Each [Cloud Drive] file is stored within Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3); the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites....Access to your Cloud Drive is controlled through your user ID and password. All communications are encrypted using HTTPS, so that your data can pass securely over the Internet."

So Amazon says its Cloud Drive online storage service is secure, and for the most part, I believe it...but I have reason to question just how reliable Cloud Drive will prove to be over time.

First, music industry heavies including Sony are already calling foul over Amazon Cloud Drive, citing issues with proper licensing, which Amazon has reportedly not received. The situation could lead to some sort of legal battle or settlement that might end in Amazon pulling the service or drastically altering functionality.

Second, Amazon has pulled some sketchy "tricks" in the past with digital content its customers purchased online, so it's within reason to imagine that the Web giant might do so again. In the summer of 2009, for example, Amazon quietly pulled digital copies of George Orwell books from Kindle users devices without consent, causing a privacy uproar.

Amazon said at the time that it wouldn't pull Kindle books like that again, but history has a tendency to repeat itself.

6) Amazon Cloud Drive Storage Tiers

Amazon spotlighted the free 5GB storage offer in its Cloud Drive announcement, but you can already expand your Amazon cloud storage to up to 1,000GB. Pricing is by the year, with a variety of tiers. For example, you can purchase 20GB of storage for $20 a year; 100GB of storage for $100 a year; and 1000GB of Amazon cloud space for $1000 per year. Fifty GB, 200GB and 500GB plans are also available.

Another perk: Any digital music purchased from Amazon MP3 is stored for free, without taking up any or your own personal storage space. So, in effect, you get unlimited storage for content bought via Amazon.

7) Amazon Cloud Player is a Battery Hog

After putting Amazon's Cloud Player through the paces, via a Mac on Wi-Fi and an Android smartphone on AT&T HSPA+ cellular network, it became very clear to me that Amazon's Web-based music player needs a lot of battery powerthough this is to be expected of just about any streaming music service.

My Mac on Wi-Fi vied much better than my Motorola Atrix 4G Android handheld on AT&T, but you'll definitely want to keep your computer or smartphone plugged in while using Amazon Cloud player, if possible -- or at least have access to a spare battery or power outlet -- or you won't be listening for long.

Pop over to for more information on Cloud Drive and Cloud Player.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags amazon.comcloud computinginternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Al Sacco

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?