Amazon Appstore’s Test Drive feature now extends to Android phones
A year after Amazon rolled out Test Drive for desktop users, allowing tire kickers to take Web apps for a spin before buying them, the online retailer has introduced the same feature to its Amazon Appstore for Android.
Jerry Heinz, general manager of Test Drive, explained the new feature:
Customers click the “Test Drive” button on an app product page and in seconds, they can use their phone’s touch screen and accelerometer to control the app, simulating the experience of the app running on their phone. Test Drive provides customers with the experience of running an app for the first time, as if it were freshly installed. Customers can purchase or download the app at any point during the Test Drive experience.
And with an eye to convenience, when prospective buyers opt to Test Drive apps, their hard drives aren’t affected. In other words, nothing is actually downloaded to their phones. Rather, Test Drive takes advantage of Amazon’s cloud.
Amazon brings the Test Drive experience to Amazon.com and Android phones using the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides on-demand compute capacity in the cloud for developers. When customers click the Test Drive button, we launch a copy of the app on EC2. As customers interact with the app, we send those inputs over the phone’s WiFi Internet connection to the app running on Amazon EC2. Our servers then send the video and audio output from the app back to the customer’s computer or phone. All this happens in real time, allowing customers to explore the features of the app as if it were running locally on their mobile device.
Heinz said that more than 5,000 apps are already compatible with Test Drive, with more being added by the day.