updated 07:15 pm EDT, Fri March 25, 2011
Amazon cloud media locker said imminent
Insiders said Friday night that Amazon may pip Apple and Google to unveiling a cloud media locker in the very near future. The online retailer has supposedly been talking to music labels and movie studios about storing books, music, and videos on servers so users could get to them from anywhere. It might unveil its plans as soon as next week, before all the deals have even been finalized, CNET understood.
The premature launch would be to head off any claims that it knows its rivals are likely to make soon. Apple has hinted at iTunes tie-ins to its datacenter in the spring that most presume will let users stream their media to any iTunes client or iOS device. Google, in turn, is believed to be testing Google Music internally and could show its own cards in the spring as it offers an equivalent for Android and the web.
All of them are hoping both to overcome the technical hurdles of modern mobile devices as well as get an edge over rivals. Cloud storage would let someone with an iPad, a Xoom, a Kindle, or another phone or tablet get a full catalog without having to either store it locally or leave a computer online at home. Both Apple and Google were suspected of having planned service in 2010, but label worries over potential piracy may have taken several months to ease.
Amazon may have a unique advantage in its existing infrastructure. It has one of the few services to allow both downloads and streams for video rentals or purchases, and the locker could give downloaders either a safety net or a way of easily moving a title to other devices where Internet access isn't guaranteed. The company recently launched an Amazon Prime unlimited movie service set to go compete head-on with Netflix.