Amazon's Cloud Drive offers personal online storage

Amazon is bolstering its online storage offerings with Cloud Drive. The service offers 5GB of storage capacity free of charge, and there are numerous options if you want more. 20GB will set you back $20 a year, 50GB costs $50, and so on. Interestingly, the Cloud Drive FAQ suggests that US customers who purchase a full album at the Amazon MP3 store will be eligible for a free upgrade to the 20GB service for one year.

Music appears to be a big part of Amazon's plans for Cloud Drive. The service won't count MP3s bought through the Amazon store against your storage limit, and there are provisions to stream stored music (including MP3 or AAC tracks you upload yourself) via a web browser or Amazon's Cloud Player Android app. Amazon says that web streaming is "not optimized to run on mobile phones or tablets," but Ars Technica reports that some iPhone users have been able to get it to work with the device's Mobile Safari browser.

Cloud Drive is built on the same infrastructure that powers Amazon's own sites. The company's developer-oriented Simple Storage Service relies on the same foundation and promises "99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability," so Cloud Drive should be reliable enough for your music collection and assorted personal files. With 5GB available for free, I'm tempted to use the service as a repository for offsite backups.

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