Everyone seems excited with the new Amazon Android Appstore launched last week. The real attraction seems to be the “one-free-app-per-day” policy of the Appstore. Keeping that aside, you have one more reason now to download free apps or buy a commercial one from there. Now Amazon Appstore is providing a virtual Android machine/simulator in which you can try that app before you decide to put it on your Android phone.
Because still the Amazon Appstore is only accessible to the customers in US, this Test drive lets US customers to take apps for a spin at Amazon.com, in a flash-based mockup of the app. In the virtual machine provided, you can not only test an app but also also delete apps, browse through photo gallery of the device, listen to some songs and even surf with the Android web browser. This is what Amazon has to say about the new simulator:
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.
Amazon is surely harnessing the power of its EC2 cloud services here. There are only about 20 games and apps on the Appstore with this functionality including Amazon MP3, IMdb, Paper Toss and such. But even for some starter apps this feature is a killer one. This move, being just another marketing strategy, will prove to be really fruitful in the long run.