Amazon's Appstore has released a new update that allows consumers to try out Android games and applications, without having to download them first and before deciding to buy them.
This new "Test Drive" option is designed to make it easier for consumers to try out apps and decide whether to pay for them. Apple's App Store does not offer a comparable feature, while Android's built-in Google Play shop only allows users to purchase a game, and then return it within 15 minutes if they don't enjoy it.
Amazon has offered the Test Drive feature since launching its alternative Android store last year, but users could only test out games and apps in their browsers. Starting this week, they can use a beta version of Test Drive on the Amazon Appstore on select mobile phone models.
Developers are not required to make any changes to their games to make them compatible with the feature. When they submit their games or updates, Amazon automatically tests the apps for Test Drive. So far, the company has put up over 5,000 apps with Test Dive for Android phones on Appstore.
Test Drive currently supports apps that use touch screen and accelerometer inputs, but not games that use Java Native Interface, keyboards, multi-touch, microphones, cameras, gyroscopes, near-field communication, or GPS. Amazon plans to add support for these features in the future, and will automatically re-test apps as it does.
Amazon is able to let users try out Android games on their phones without downloading them -- removing one more barrier that might prevent consumers from looking at a game -- by streaming gameplay in real-time from its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud servers.