Amazon announces new cloud storage and streaming project for music.
Amazon.com is already in the business of selling music, and now the company is trying to one up the competition by helping customers store those tunes online and access them from just about anywhere.
Amazon's launch of its cloud drive allows users to upload and store files such as music, videos and photos on servers that can be accessed from a web browser.
Meanwhile, the company's new cloud player can stream the music via computer or Android smart phones.
"If you own music, you can upload it to the cloud, and if you want music, you can buy it
from Amazon and either leave it in the cloud or download it. That's really new," says MSNBC.com tech editor Wilson Rothman.
But don't expect to do any of that Amazon action through Apple's products.
Apple is expected to be one of several companies launching their own cloud services sometime this year.
Amazon will allow customers 5 GB of free storage, enough for at least a thousand songs.
Another 20 gigabytes of storage can be had for $20 a year or free with the purchase of an
Still, accessing the cloud for all of this material could have a hidden cost for smart phone users.
"If you have a 2GB plan and you're listening to music all the time, you might at the end of the month, discover some overage charges," Rothman warns.
There's potential for backlash from music companies over Amazon's plan, though.
A spokesman for Sony Music told Reuters that Amazon may need new licenses to allow them to do music streaming and that the company would keep "all legal options open".