Amazon Appstore Now Lets Users Test Drive Apps Right On Their Devices

Amazon has just launched a new feature for their App Store, called Test Drive. This feature will enable Android users to test an app before they purchase or download it.

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.

It’s a pretty cool idea, with some neat technology behind it.

Amazon brings the Test Drive experience to 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.

How do you think this will affect your app development? It could almost be treated as an extension of the trial period, but it’s completely seamless to the user. They don’t have to worry about purchasing, and then getting a refund within 15 minutes if they don’t like the app, etc. They can just click “Test Drive”, and start using it straight away.

I reckon this could have the potential to increase sales dramatically. It’s like screenshots on steroids. No, actually, it’s like video demos on steroids. :slight_smile:

Of course, it could have the opposite effect as well. If your app isn’t well designed, or doesn’t fit the marketing, it wouldn’t get many downloads with this scheme.

I wonder how Test Drive would affect analytics too?

Source: Amazon Appstore Developer Blog

Am I wrong or was this “Test Drive” there before on their website where you could play it in the browser … I remember, that I tried that.

I wonder how Test Driving an app works with In-App-Purchases (when used in a paid app).

Yes, it seems they had this feature for the web browser before. It’s new to have it directly on the phone itself though.

IAP is another area I’m not sure how it would work. Maybe there’s some kind of flag (like isUserAMonkey() in the Android SDK) which would let the app know that it’s in test mode?

I think it’s a great step forward, we’ll just have to adjust to this new reality. But in the end I think it’ll be a great way to get people to play an addictive app or game and fall in love, someone who otherwise wouldn’t have even tried it :slight_smile: