I told you Amazon’s really the one Apple had better look out for this year. They might just be prepping an Android tablet to go toe-to-toe with iPad on its own turf: Content. The pieces are falling into place like so many iDucks in an iRow.

Several media outlets are today reporting that Amazon is geared up to launch an cloud-based media locker service, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Interesting enough on its own, the reports are all the tastier when taken alongside similar rumors regarding Apple readying a music locker upgrade to their MobileMe cloud services next month. CNET is reporting that the online retail giant has been in talks with major film and music studios, with sources from both industries describing, “a cloud locker service that would enable users to store their existing music, film, and book collections, even content not purchased at Amazon, on the company’s servers.”

Google has also been rumored to be prepping their own music service for some time now, with intelligence pointing towards the search giant also readying a cloud-based offering that would allow users to play stored media from Android phones/tablets and other Web-connected devices. The big hitch for any such service lies in obtaining the necessary licenses from film and music studios. Problems with licensing have been to blame for UK-based streaming music service Spotify missing more than one scheduled U.S. launch date despite massive success to date in Europe.

Amazon could go the route of announcing a service before all negotiations with studios are completed, something Apple has been known to do in the recent past with its iTunes store. They could also go the route of offering a more limited consumer service under existing licensing agreements, though that sort of play has backfired on others in the past when would-be customers wound up turned off by limited feature sets and unexpected restrictions on how they can access and consume content.

Amazon launched a streaming video service, Instant Video for Prime, late last month. The service, offering “Prime” customers free unlimited viewing of a relatively small collection of TV and movie titles, was seen as an aggressive step towards challenging Netflix, whose Watch Instantly online streaming feature has been a major success.

[Via: CNET, The Wall Street Jounal]