Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage System) is a decently fast, cheap, and reliable storage “in the cloud”. We host gigs and gigs there for practically a few dollars a month. Downloads are fairly speedy, too, though I’ve noticed the latency (time to first byte) of a file can vary from 120ms-400ms and even upwards of 800ms on our occasionally slow wireless connection at work. I decided to give Amazon’s < Cloudfront a try and initial tests show it’s crazy fast:

Charles 3.6.5 - Session 1.jpg @ 100% (Layer 1, RGB/8*) *

This is at home on my fast connection, but even at work I’ve seen Cloudfront’s latency as little as 18ms! It’s a bit pricer than S3 (at about $0.12 per downloaded gigabyte compared to S3′s $0.125 per stored GB—all other S3 charges are practically insignificant) but I will give it a try.

HTTP latency is the great killer of mobile apps, which is much higher on desktops, but even on the latter a few 100 milliseconds of delay from a handful of static assets can seriously effect the usability of your application.