Amazon is now fully ingrained in the Android ecosystem, with its new Cloud Drive and Cloud Player joining the Amazon Appstore to position Amazon to be a full service shopping destination for Android device owners. The new Cloud Drive comes with an update today to the Amazon MP3 app for Android that brings cloud storage into the music buying process, and adds the Cloud Player to Amazon MP3 for streaming the user's music to any Android device or web computer.
I installed the new Amazon MP3 app this morning and have taken it for a test drive to see how well the cloud additions perform. The short answer is not a surprise to those familiar with the way Amazon does things: it works pretty well.
Upon installation, the new MP3 app that is used to find and purchase music from Amazon notifies the user about the new cloud services. It explains in simple terms how music streaming works and gives the option to store all future purchased to the cloud drive for streaming anywhere. Note that the free account gives you 5 GB of storage which will handle a few hundred songs, and that paid storage starts at $20 per year for 20 GB of storage. Once you tell Amazon to store purchases in the cloud, you're all done.
Buying a song is the same simple process as before, you listen to a preview if desired and select buy. Rather than download the song to the Android device's local storage, the song is put in the cloud for immediate access via streaming. It is simple and fast, and will appeal to most consumers.
The Cloud Player is part of the Amazon MP3 app, and playing songs is as simple as selecting them on screen. The streaming starts immediately and is of decent quality to get good audio playback. There is an option on each song stored in the cloud to download it to local storage with a simple click on the screen.
The new cloud services joining with the Amazon MP3 store is a brilliant move by the company, and as colleague Larry Dignan points out it is the "consumerization of Amazon Web Services". It couldn't be easier for consumers to get started in the intimidating world of cloud services.