It would appear that Amazon is becoming Google’s best frenemy. The company launched its well designed Android app store last week and yesterday surprised a lot of people by introducing Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player.
No, it apparently doesn’t work on Apple devices.
Beating Google Music to market it offers music storage and streaming via PC and Android devices. There’s 5 GB of free storage (more if you buy music from Amazon) and inexpensive storage plans beyond that, starting at $20.
As with iTunes users can upload and store their music collection. It also allows hosting of documents, photos and video.
Cnet reported last week that Google was finally internally testing its very long-awaited music service. The launch has apparently been delayed as Google negotiates rights issues with music labels. There’s speculation that at Google’s forthcoming developer conference, in May, Google will finally introduce its music service.
A year ago it briefly previewed streaming music for Android in an on-stage demo that was so low-key and went by so fast that it went unnoticed by many people.
Music has been something of an Achilles Heel for Android devices vs. the iPhone. So Amazon’s Cloud Player and storage service — and presumably Google Music when it launches — will level the playing field. However Apple is thought to be working on iTunes streaming, following its purchase of LaLa in late 2009.
Officially Google will welcome any service that makes Android a more competitive and useful platform. However Amazon has effectively preempted Google Music with the launch of Cloud Player. As a consequence Google Music will need to be better or more usable in some way (more free storage would be one way) to get the same attention it would have in the absence of Amazon’s launch.
Postscript: There appears to be a “backlash” brewing against Amazon by music labels.