Amazon launched new iOS and Android apps to access files stored on its Cloud Drive service, but don't expect to get too much from the experience. Even though the Cloud Drive apps complement Amazon's affordable unlimited digital storage, the implementation lacks a post-PC strategy.
Unlike competing apps from Google, Microsoft and Dropbox, Amazon's app is read-only, lacks the ability to automatically sync content from your phone and denies users the ability to manually upload locally stored files on an Android or iPhone.
To do any of these tasks, you'll have to resort to the old-fashioned way – firing up the web browser and accessing Cloud Drive's web interface. It seems Amazon may have rushed the apps to stake a claim in the competitive cloud market.
What you can do
Even though not everything is "cloud nine" with Cloud Drive, there are still things you can do from within the apps. The app will allow you to view documents, files, videos and photos that have already been uploaded.
You can use the app to share what's in your cloud with others. Cloud Drive allows users to send files on the cloud as an email attachment or as a public link. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't allow for private links on Cloud Drive, so business users will likely steer clear of the public link option, especially with sensitive or confidential files.
Cloud Drive also allows you to open files with other apps.
If you can live with the short list of features that the Cloud Drive mobile apps allow you to perform at this time, then the service's all-inclusive $60 (£38, AU$80) per year unlimited plan is far cheaper than rival services. For users and small businesses with copious digital storage needs, Google's and Dropbox's $9.99 (£6, AU$13) monthly pricing for 1TB of cloud space can add up quickly.
Photographers who don't need to store other file types – like Office files or PDFs – can subscribe to a cheaper $12 (£7, AU$16) per year plan that includes unlimited photo storage. However, if you're shooting from your phone, you'll also need to download the Cloud Drive Photos app to upload from your mobile device.
Hopefully, Amazon will build more functionality into the Cloud Drive mobile apps in the future. Competing Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox apps all come with more features, including automatic file uploads and document editing capabilities.
"Amazon tells us it plans to keep the pricing the same as it expands its service to mobile, and it will also continue to invest in both the Cloud Drive and Cloud Drive Photos apps going forward," TechCrunch reported.
To appeal to enterprise customers, Amazon will need to also beef up Cloud Drive security with features like two-factor authentication.
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