Amazon Cloud Drive Photos, the photo-uploading utility that helps move photos from a mobile device into Amazon’s online storage, may have to change its name. Now, the tool doesn’t just support photo uploads, it supports videos, as well. Videos can be manually uploaded one by one, or users can opt to have videos auto-save from their devices directly into Amazon’s cloud.
This automatic upload option was already available for photos through an update out at the beginning of the year, but videos within Cloud Drive Photos had not yet been supported, whether manually or through the auto-upload feature within the application.
Amazon says that videos are restricted to 2 GB in size or 20 minutes in length, whether they’re being uploaded or downloaded from the Cloud Drive service – that’s slightly longer than YouTube’s default setting ahead of account verification. This is fine for the majority of users’ personal videos, of activities, pets, kids or events, for example, recorded on their mobile devices.
After the files are in Amazon’s cloud, the video can be played back to any device, including, of course, the Kindle Fire and other Android tablets. According to a post on Amazon’s Web Services blog about the technical underpinnings to the new feature, Amazon’s Elastic Transcoder service was used, which supports over 20 file formats and 40 video codecs. The team says its goal was to have videos transcoded within 15 minutes after uploading, but ended up achieving videos that are often ready within a minute or two. They also went ahead and processed all the videos stored in Amazon users’ Cloud Drive libraries ahead of launch.
Though the company offers a version of its Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app on iOS devices, too, only the Android version has received the video support at this time. That makes sense because not only is the Kindle and Android-based tablet, and therefore Amazon’s priority, the Android app was also the first to launch, back in November 2012.
The iOS version didn’t arrive until this May, and it serves as a viable alternative to Apple’s own iCloud sync and storage service, with reasonable pricing of 5 GB for free, then $10/year for 20 GB, $25/year for 50 GB and so on, all the way up to 1,000 GB for $500/year. Keep in mind that the storage goes up so high not because users need so much space for photos (and now videos, too), but because Amazon Cloud Drive is meant to serve as a competitor to Google Drive or Dropbox, with support for a variety of file types, including office documents and music, which can also be streamed back through Amazon Cloud Player.
In other words, this isn’t the first time users could upload videos to Amazon’s cloud. This is just making it possible to do so within the Cloud Drive Photos application.
The updated Cloud Drive app is available now on Google Play and Amazon’s Appstore.
Skype’s latest app upgrade brings a few substantial features, some good, one not so. Alongside a new anti-shake video call function (limited to the iPhone’s back-facing camera), you can now pair Bluetooth headsets with the VoIP calling service, something apparently “long requested” from Skype fans. However, users have to fork out for credit to avoid seeing advertising that’s also baked into the new version. The update’s now up for grabs on both the iPhone and iPad, though there are reports of a few teething troubles, including missing credit and account details. We’ve also been experiencing issues, with the app unwilling to play nice with our Bluetooth headsets, though oddly, we can still hear the Skype call ring through. Hopefully we’ll see another update that sorts this out soon.
Last month, we sat down with Microsoft for a quick look at the Xbox’s upcoming Dashboard update – it was sleek, searchable, and extremely camera shy. A quick trip to Europe seems to have cured it of its bashful ways, however, and the budding update can now be seen in a slightly blurry piece of French cinema. This leaked video shows a Dashboard with a smidge more polish than the demo we saw in September, and silently plods on without so much as a bleep or bloop. Our mute host briefly peeks at the Xbox Live Marketplace, casually glances at the Bing search page and scrolls leisurely through the new Dash’s very Metro menu. The whole shebang is en fran ais, of course, and the update’s snappy voice-control gimmick is sadly absent. Sure, there’s not a lot of depth here, but if you want a glimpse of what’s coming when the update drops later this Fall, it’s definitely worth a look.
The Motorola PRO+ (or Motorola DROID PRO+) was announced back in August as the successor to the original DROID PRO. And while the first time around we got the DROID Pro but not the rest of the world, it looks like the rest of the world will be getting the PRO+ instead of us. Well, the folks over at technobufffalo.com recently got their hands on one unit and shot an unboxing video for the phone, showing us the goodies that come in the package, and what the phone is like.
The phone isn’t too different from the original DROID PRO, except that it features a more curvy body than its predecessor and it features a higher resolution display. Oh and let’s not forget Android 2.3 Gingerbread that comes with the phone. If you’re keen on finding out more about the phone, check out the video unboxing for yourself:
The HTC HD2 has been around since November 2009, and since then it’s received numerous ports of different operating systems. From Windows Phone 7, to Android 2.x and Meego, it looks like the developer community isn’t done yet. Some folks have managed to create an Android Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the HD2 and have put it up for download. As a beta release, some features are unsurprisingly not working, but for the short amount of time it took to come up with it, it’s pretty impressive.
USB mass storage, the camera, hardware acceleration and some other features aren’t ready yet – but hey, it’s Ice Cream Sandwich (albeit laggy) on a two-year-old phone! Manufacturers don’t even want to waste their resources bringing ICS over to their “lower end” phones themselves. If you own an HD2 and want to give it a new breath of life, you can load up the custom ICS ROM for yourself, or wait for a more stable and complete release first. Check out the demonstration video below:
Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, Keith Teare, John Taschek, and Steve Gillmor. Live recording session for today has concluded