Few outfits would dream of entering a marketplace which is ruled by Dropbox and Google. But Amazon isn’t like most firms. Back in March, it announced a refreshed version of its Cloud Drive service, which offers unlimited, flexible storage that undercuts the price asked by those competing giants mentioned above. At the time, users could only upload and access files on desktop and Android, but finally, Amazon has released a native iOS version. It might just swing the file storage game in Amazon’s favor — but probably not yet.
The two Cloud Drive plans on offer are both very tempting. The cheaper of the two concentrates on photos, allowing subscribers to store an unlimited number of images, including RAW files, for $11.99 per year (although it is free for Amazon Prime members). But for $59.99 each year, users can upload an unlimited number of files of any variety.
For music and photos, access has been good. The separate apps for each of these media formats — Prime Music and Cloud Drive Photos — are decently designed and available on all major platforms. Until now, however, other files haven’t been treated with such respect. The new Cloud Drive app is designed to fix that, with a Dropbox-style interface that allows you to view presentations, documents, spreadsheets, photos, and more. It should put Cloud Drive right at the top of the reckoning.
But hands-on experience with the app suggests that Amazon still has plenty of work to do. Bizarrely, you cannot upload files through the app, and those files which are already in your account are arbitrarily divided into Documents, Pictures, and Videos. You can view most documents in the Cloud Drive app, although you can’t edit any, and you can stream uploaded music. However, you are instructed to download the separate Photos app to view images.
At present, then, Cloud Drive is somewhat disappointing. But if Amazon can improve this suite of apps, the value offered by the service will begin to shine.
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