It was a long time coming, but cheap, unlimited cloud storage is finally here. Amazon has announced that its Cloud Drive consumer cloud storage solution will be offering unlimited cloud storage for $5 or less.
The new plan, called Unlimited Everything, also has a smaller brother, called Unlimited Photos, which allows photographers to store unlimited photo files for only around $1 per month.
"Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don't know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up," said director of Amazon Cloud Drive, Josh Petersen. "With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don't need to worry about storage space — they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music and files in one convenient place."
Amazon is not the first company to offer unlimited storage. Dropbox, for example, has an unlimited option for its business clients. Amazon is, however, the first to offer unlimited storage to consumers, especially at such a low rate.
It's important to note that Amazon will charge users yearly rather than monthly, with the Unlimited Photos offering costing $11.99 per year and the Unlimited Everything plan costing $59.99 per year. Users can also take advantage of a three-month free trial period, after which customers will begin being charged.
There are, of course, some caveats. Files cannot be larger than 2 GB each, essentially meaning that users will not be able to upload HD films. Pornography and pirated content are also not allowed on the service. While Amazon has said that it wants to ensure that no malware is uploaded, it has not said how it intends to regulate this.
Users should also check the small print before they sign up to the service. For example, it specifies that Amazon has "the rights to copy your files for backup purposes, modify your files to enable access in different formats, use information about your files to organize them on your behalf and access your files to provide technical support." While this will likely not be a problem for most, for those that are more privacy aware or want to ensure that their files remain absolutely private, perhaps this is not the best option.
Amazon's announcement is a big one for the cloud storage market and will likely mean that competitors such as Google will make announcements to offer similar products in coming months.