Amazon’s Cloud Player

A month or two ago I downloaded the Amazon Cloud Player to my Android Phone (a mach-1 Motorola Droid). I’ve waited for a couple of updates before I wrote the review and I think it’s safe to do it now. If you haven’t started using the Cloud Player yet, be warned: Amazon has made it very inconvenient to use only the 5 GB that they give you for free. When you download the player, you also download a music finder application on your computer. This app will run and pull all of your audio files off your PC, be it MP3 or iTunes MP4. It will inevitably be a larger number than 5 GB. You can do it manually but the app closes out after each file and you have to muddle through your folders each time to go file-by-file. If you are patient and very much against paying for additional storage, be my guest and try it. Or you can do like I did and just cough up twenty bucks for 20 GB. Also, keep an eye out for deals which are offered frequently, such as buy an MP3 download and get 20 GB free. Keep in mind that it is an annual subscription price and you will have to cough it up year after year. Honestly, I don’t think $20 is that bad so I happily forked it over. And once you login on your device to access your part of the cloud, you can stream your audio files from anywhere.

I don’t want to clutter my phone up with a bunch of MP3 files so this is a great way for me to have access to my music and my audiobooks on the go. I just plug in headphones or jack the phone into my car stereo, boot up the app, and play away. You can randomize all tracks or tracks within an artist group or on an album. I haven’t had any issues with the quality of the stream (keep in mind that may vary by carrier. I use Verizon).

As far as the interface goes, it’s pretty decent. I have two complaints: the player refreshes every 10 min. whether you like it or not, which will drain battery life. You can manually refresh it MORE frequently but not set it to refresh LESS frequently. It does waste a lot of battery on the Motorola Droid, but then, so does everything else that provides streaming media (YouTube, Slacker Radio, Pandora, etc.). Another perk is that you can also play on-device music through the player too, which is a preferable interface to the player that came with my Droid. My other complaint? (and this may be device specific) is that whenever I get a text message the stream is interrupted and doesn’t start back up unless I manually hit “play.” That’s irritating as hell, especially if I’m having an active text-versation while listening to some tunes. I thought that an update might change that but it hasn’t yet and it may only be an issue with this model of Droid. All-in-all, I’ve had at least $20.00 worth of joy using it so far and being able to leave my iPod at home when I go for a walk.

-contributed by staffer Shannon Baker

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