The new service, which is available for Android, iOS, Windows and PCs through the browser, will allow users to sync and access their full photo archive from anywhere in the world. Photos can be uploaded to the Amazon cloud drive automatically. At this stage, Australians are for some reason barred from using the new service.
Amazon charges US$99 annually for a Prime subscription, which began as a membership service that offered fast free shipping (in the US). It has expanded to offer other benefits such as Prime Instant Video, Prime Music, Prime Pantry, Prime Early Access, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Kindle First, Membership Sharing, and now Prime Photos.
Non-Prime members can use the service with the first 5GB for free and then fees from US$10.year for 20GB through to US$500 for 1000GB.
Customers can view their pictures through televisions connected to Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, and some LG and Samsung TVs. But while Amazon will save photos at full resolution, and in a range of formats including Raw files, file size is restricted to 2GB. Amazon also stipulates that Prime Photos is only for personal, non-commercial use.
Organising tools are also thin on the ground – everything is simply sorted by date.
Competiton to secure the world’s photo collections is hotting up. Subscribers to Google Apps Unlimited (US$10 per month) have access to unlimited Google Drive storage; Google also offers free storage up to 15GB for subscribers to Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Google charges $10 per month for 1000GB of Google Drive storage as a standalone service. Microsoft offers Office 365 subscribers unlimited One Drive storage for US$10 per month. Flickr offers 1000GB of storage free.
Apple offers iCloud customers 1000GB of storage for US$20 per month. Because Apple storage features leading edge design and an unmatchable user experience, one presumes.