Nice work, Amazon…and now our eyes are on Zune!
March 29, 2011 2 Comments
Remember in the schoolyard when two kids are getting ready to fight. One of the kids would sock the other kid in the arm and the crowd would go “Oooh.” They were in anticipation of what was going to happen next. Well, Amazon just socked companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft in the arm. So you have to wonder if, how and when these companies would retaliate. Would they be able to match what Amazon is doing or would they go for the Sweet Chin Music and try to knock Amazon off their sudden high horse.
For those that don’t know what I’m talking about (what, you live under a rock?) Amazon has just released a cloud storage and playback service. With this service you can store both purchased Amazon MP3s and uploaded music to their servers. Then, you can playback this stored music either by using any web browser (except for some reason iOS stuff isn’t working) or through Amazon’s MP3 store on Android. I would only hope that they include at least the cloud storage functionality in all of its available marketplace apps.
As soon as this feature was announced, my eyes (and I’m sure many others in my circle) turned directly to Zune. You see, Zune/Microsoft pretty much had everything in place to make this type of thing happen: purchase history + Skydrive + Windows Phone 7 + Zune HD on Wifi… you get the idea. It would be fantastic for Zune to have my music everywhere I go.
Yeah, I know — all of the articles talk about how it’s competing with whatever Apple/Google PLANS to do not acknowledging that Microsoft has most of the tools/services in place to make this happen. It bugs the fudge out of me that people don’t take the potential of Zune seriously only to gloat when something bad happens to it. Maybe if people made it a serious part of the conversation…
And I know what you’re saying: “Isn’t Zune Pass making music available everywhere you go?” Yes and no. Zune Pass is great in that it allows me the chance to play almost anything available in the Marketplace. The key part of that is anything available in the Marketplace. I own CDs and ripped them primarily because they weren’t available in the Marketplace (or I would — yes, indeed — purchase said music from Amazon). So right now, Zune Pass on Windows Phone, Zune HD or, even, the XBOX 360 can’t locate what I have in the local collection. The PC is able to with the PC software because that’s my management system.
It begs the question where can Zune make a dent in this cloud storage and playback system? With so many pieces in place already, you have to think that they’re trying to find ways to make it all work together. I would love to pull up an album that’s located in the mobile marketplace, have the system know that I own the album at home and therefore make it available to me on the device.
What makes me clamor for this more and more is the fact that these mobile phones come out with such paltry storage that cloud-based solutions are almost a damn necessity. The Focus (one of the most beloved phones in the Windows Phone collection) only has 8GB of storage. I once tried it as an all-in-one, but it’s REALLY easy to fill 8GB with content, so I continue to carry around a Zune HD and phone. Plus, with all of this uncertainty about what Micro SD cards you can use (officially), it leaves my Focus out as being a true media device.
However, if I’m able to really utilize cloud based services, the storage wouldn’t matter as much. Zune Pass starts that parade by making music in the marketplace available. Skydrive and Office are doing pretty darn well at making documents accessible, but there’s plenty more to be done, especially for an audiophile like me who at a whim may want to hear a song only to realize it’s sitting at home and not available in the mobile marketplace. Grr, baby…very grr..
So kudos to Amazon for at least getting their service out there, for showing that it can be done and for fire starting a conversation about cloud-based services and how they can be greatly utilized.
Zune, I’m still watching…