Today Amazon made its announcement about the anticipated Amazon Fire Phone. One of the top features being touted is unlimited storage for your photos. That may sound great, but will you really be happy with your overall photo experience using Amazon? I’d bet big that the answer is no. Easy backup and lots of cheap/free space is only a small fraction of what you need to enjoy your photos. How do you ultimately use the photos you take? I know a lot sit on your phone, but you also share many of them through a wide variety of services (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, etc.)
I recently wrote about all the things I think you should consider when deciding where to store your photos online. When I evaluate Amazon against the various criteria, the only thing it has going for it is cheap storage, free. It isn’t even made clear if your full resolution photos will be stored in Amazon Cloud Drive or if it will be a low resolution version. I’d be shocked if they weren’t full resolution, that would be a real sting to the cleanliness of their advertisement that it is unlimited storage for all your photos. That said, Google’s is unlimited free for low resolution and you have to pay for higher resolution photo storage.
Once your photos are stored in Amazon Cloud Drive, your experience is only as good as Amazon makes it. Since Amazon makes $0 off of storing your photos, guess how much they are going to invest in making the experience awesome!? Not a lot I bet.
Amazon’s web site and iOS app for viewing photos in your Cloud Drive is pretty minimalistic. There is basic sorting by date, and thats about it. No photo editing, no albums, no tagging, no searching, no sharing, and no developer APIs. You might as well put your photos on a thumb drive and toss it in the closet with your 3×5 printed photos from the last century.
The bottom line is, don’t let Amazon suck you into their phone because of unlimited photo storage. Don’t even let it be a factor in your decision process. I’m not saying don’t buy the Amazon Fire phone, I am sure it has other redeeming qualities, just don’t buy it for the storage space. Storage space, while not free in most places, is very inexpensive. It is becoming a commodity very quickly. If you take enough photos that you care about free space, you probably care a lot about your entire photo experience. Look at the big picture when choosing a phone, not just storage space. In my experience with Amazon, they will invest heavily in the experiences that result in purchases of products on Amazon. Photos is not one of them, though I can think of many ways it could be. Apple, Google, dozens of other smaller companies, and yes, Microsoft care a lot more about photos than Amazon as demonstrated by the products they build. The Amazon Fire phone is a full cost phone on par with iPhones and other high end phones. I guarantee you it is very poor at many of the experiences you put a high value on. Do your homework before you buy.