March 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM ET
Amazon.com's Appstore is already in hot water with Apple (for use of the name); now it's seeking to best Apple's App Store by offering free test drives of apps.
If you've got an Android smartphone, you get about 30 minutes to try out a game, for example, with the new Test Drive feature, with an Web-based emulation of the game.
But it's not only games that are available; there are all kinds of apps. The Appstore started with 3,800 apps, still a pittance compared to Apple's 350,000-plus for the iPhone.
Last week, Amazon.com launched its new Appstore for Android, despite a lawsuit from Apple over the "App Store" trademark. As GeekWire writer Todd Bishop noted, Amazon "is looking to entice customers with the promise of one paid app for free every day, starting with Angry Birds Rio, an exclusive to the Amazon store."
Test Drive is yet another way to lure folks to the storefront. Google "used to offer an ad hoc 24-hour trial period. That is, if you paid for an app and decided within 24 hours that you didn't like it, you could request a refund. It later ditched that feature," said TG Daily.
"Amazon's 'try before you buy' feature is much more user-friendly and less likely to rile developers, since users don't actually get to play the app on their phone, only on a Web-based Android emulator. For the full experience, they'll need to buy the app, but they no longer have to blind buy."
Amazon explains how it works:
Clicking the “Test drive now” button launches a copy of this app on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides on-demand compute capacity in the cloud for developers. When you click on the simulated phone using your mouse, we send those inputs over the Internet to the app running on Amazon EC2 — just like your mobile device would send a finger tap to the app. Our servers then send the video and audio output from the app back to your computer. All this happens in real time, allowing you to explore the features of the app as if it were running on your mobile device.
Yet another plus for Android users, who are already growing in number every day.
More about Android, App Store and Appstore:
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