Gadgets and Games

Why Amazon Cloud Drive Is an iPhone's Best Friend

Amazon recently unveiled a new 'cloud' streaming and storage service, powered by the company's EC2 web hosting service.

Amazon recently unveiled a new 'cloud' streaming and storage service, powered by the company's EC2 web hosting service.  (

It's time to say "So Long" to syncing! 

Syncing my iPhone over a cable connected to my computer feels so 1999. Sure, it's how most people get music, apps, and podcasts on their gizmos -- but it's also how we put data on our Palm Pilots over a decade ago. Shouldn't we have more advanced technologies by now?

That's why I’m so excited about Amazon Cloud Drive. It could make wired syncing a thing of the past.

Last week, in preparation for a three-day family trip, I downloaded a slew of podcasts and new albums. Unfortunately, in my mad 3:30 a.m. dash to the airport, I failed to sync my iPhone -- so all that great stuff stayed at home with my iMac. 

I was forced to read an actual newspaper. Ugh, all that ink.

Amazon’s new Cloud Drive service lets you store your music, movies, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon’s servers in a sort of virtual locker so that you can get to your entire digital library any time and anywhere. When you want to listen to, watch, or otherwise use what's in your locker, you open it up in a browser or on your phone if you have an Android phone (and you have to think an iPhone app is forthcoming).

Amazon Cloud Drive feels very much like iTunes. You can sort your music by artist, genre, album, etc. And if you’ve created some great playlists in iTunes, Amazon Cloud Drive will recognize them -- so don’t worry, you can keep your favorite slow jams all queued up.

You get 5 gigabytes of free storage with Amazon, which is about 1,000 songs. Most people will probably need more than that, but if you buy just one MP3 album through Amazon’s music store, you get 20 gigabytes of storage for free per year. That's the equivalent of 4,000 songs. And if you’ve got an extensive collection like I do, you can up your storage capacity for plans starting at 20 extra gigabytes per year for $20 per year.

My iTunes library is approximately 60 gigabytes (there’s a lot of Beatles, R.E.M., and nearly every 80s song ever recorded in there). Since Amazon is charging about $1 per gigabyte per year, it would cost me about $60 a year to store my music in the cloud. That's not cheap -- but there are three reasons it's still something worth considering: ease, convenience, and backup.

It's easy to do and it makes syncing my devices with an actual cable connected to a computer a thing of the past.

It's convenient, because it means that my music and digital files are available to me whenever I have a broadband connection.

And I know that if my computer or backup drives crash (knock on wood), my music is safe with Amazon. 

And yes, I trust that Amazon will keep my music safe. 

Amazon has been investing in remote computing services and infrastructure since the company launched Amazon Web Services in 2002. Other companies use Amazon’s servers to host their Web services and apps, in fact, so I trust Amazon can do a good job keeping its own cloud properties safe.

In fact, Amazon Cloud Drive is the service we've all been hoping Apple would launch. I thought it would have happened by now with last year’s purchase of the online music service LaLa -- but alas, Amazon beat Jobs to the punch. 

A cloud-based version of iTunes is certainly coming, however, it's just a question of when -- and whether Amazon’s offering puts the pressure on the folks in Cupertino. 

After all, who wants to use that clunky white cord when you can just live in the cloud?

Clayton Morris is a Fox and Friends host. Follow Clayton's adventures online on Twitter @ClaytonMorris and by reading his daily updates at his blog.