Amazon Fire a further boost to the consumer cloud

POSTED BY Global Administrator
While much of the attention on Amazon’s shock and awe product launch on Wednesday focused, reasonably enough, on the products themselves – and there were a fair few of them to focus on – it is worth taking some time to look at the wider implications of the announcements (other, that is, than the glum faces at Apple). Essentially, what we are seeing here is emblematic of a full-on migration to the cloud. Amazon, of course, has built much of its business around AWS (Amazon Web Services), and the confluence of Amazon’s retail and cloud-based storage activities came with the Kindle Store. Earlier this year, Amazon had bolstered its consumer cloud offering with the launch of Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon Cloud Player for Web and Amazon Cloud Player for Android: these three services allow consumers to securely store music in the cloud (on Amazon S3) and play it on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC; customers can also upload their existing music library to the Amazon Cloud Drive and also save any Amazon MP3 purchases to the drive free of charge. This in turn created the storage/backup platform for the Fire/Touch/Umpteen Other Devices announced on Wednesday; all content will be backed up in the cloud. Of course, Apple itself is gearing up for a full blown jump to cloudspace with iCloud, which will allow users to store content in the cloud and have that content synched and pushed to all iOS devices. Content stored in the cloud includes all purchases from iTunes, the App Store and iBookstore; content on iOS devices (includes photos, videos, settings and app data) is also backed up daily to iCloud Backup when users charge their devices. The iTunes in the Cloud service allows consumers to download all tracks previously purchased from iTunes to all iOS devices at no extra cost, while the Photo Stream service automatically uploads photos taken on or imported to any iOS device and wirelessly pushes them to all that end user’s devices and computers. The service – currently in beta – is expected to go live with the launch of the iOS5. Not to be outdone, Google – which has a server or two at its disposal – launched a beta version of cloud-based music storage service (Google Music) back in March: in addition to offering access via a native Android app, Google has since thoughtfully offered a beta version of the service for the iOS via a web app in case any iPhone users were disenchanted with their iTunes storage facilities. Taken together, these offerings from the OTT behemoths signal a quite dramatic shift to the cloud, part of an (understandable) trend as consumers seek to access the same content across multiple devices; in some cases, to share (and amend/append) that content with other individuals. The critical part of the equation, as I have observed on previous occasions, is whether the networks will be able to deliver the quality of service required for this model to develop to its full potential…