Amazon’s virtual Android let’s you try before you buy

By on March 28, 2011
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‘Test Drive’ your app.

It’s hard to judge an app even despite reviews and video showcases, isn’t it? There is always an hesitation when we click the ‘buy now’ button on the app store – how will the app fair, will it work upto my needs, am I just wasting money? And so a short trial of an app remains one of the biggest issues for smartphones users – many apps do not come with a ‘lite’ version, leaving users to rely on information available on the Internet to make their purchase decision.

However, Amazon, in their bid to get its Android app store rolling, has come out with a unique way of addressing the aforementioned issue: a virtual machine. The online retailer has built an Android virtual machine that let’s you try an app, on your PC browser, before you shell out the greens for it. The application is aptly called ‘Test Drive’ and is now available to all Amazon users.

Here’s what Amazon says about its Test Drive system:

“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.”

Now that’s something! We hope other OS developers take notice and a built a similar application for their respective app stores. There is a desperate need for it on the iOS-side of things.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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