Amazon doles out free photo storage to Prime members. What's next, a free Fire smartphone?


After being badly burned by its first entry into the smartphone market, Amazon is getting back to what it's good at and looking to boost its Prime subscription service with a new lure -- unlimited photo storage.

Amazon Prime subscribers are now able to upload an unlimited amount of photos to Amazon Cloud, as the e-commerce company pushes forward its strategy to become the hub for all premium media consumption.

"With free unlimited photo storage, we're providing one more reason for members to use Prime every day," says Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime. "Prime has always allowed members to conveniently save time and save money, and now with Prime Photos they can save memories, too."

Prime subscribers can upload images from iOS or Android mobile devices to Amazon Cloud, using the service's automatic sync to take out the busywork of manually backing up content periodically.

Subscribers can pull the content out of Amazon Cloud and display it on mobile devices, smart TVs, PlayStation consoles or any Amazon streaming devices, including the Fire TV Stick or the Fire TV set-top box.

The uncapping comes without a price hike or additional user commitment, though video uploads are restricted to files no larger than 2 GB and 20 minutes or under in duration.

The unlimited photo storage was established to encourage Prime subscribers to save high-resolution RAW files in the cloud, driving consumers deeper into Amazon's ecosystem and expanding membership.

Amazon's Prime package provides on-demand video, streaming audio, file storage and free two-day shipping into a under-$100 annual subscription. Some see Prime as an increasingly more sensible alternative to paying roughly $10 per month for specialized subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify and OneDrive.

After reporting third-quarter finances that were dampened by the under-performing Fire phone, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told investors it was time to refocus on the areas in which the company is already excelling.

David Limp, Amazon's senior vice president of devices, concedes the Fire phone was priced too high, but he said his division is not ready to give up on producing smartphones just yet.

"We are going to keep iterating software features to get it better and better," said Limp. "Each release that we're doing, we're learning. Beyond that, I leave it out there to see what people think."

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