Unless an app you have your eye happens to have a free demo version to muck about with, there’s little one can do to try out an Android app on a device in advance. Sure, you could buy the app straight from the Google Play Store and get a refund within 15 minutes if you’re not satisfied, but Amazon has a new solution in place that helps take the friction out of that testing process.
The latest update for the Amazon Appstore Android app packs a welcome surprise — instead of being stuck Test Driving your apps on your PC, you’ll now be able to do it from directly within the app.
Well, some of you will be able to do it. Not every Android phone will be able to take part in the Test Drive program quite yet, as Amazon points out that the service is only set up to work with certain devices for now. My Galaxy Nexus doesn’t seem to be on the list at the moment, and Engadget reports that the immensely popular Galaxy S II is similarly shut out of the fun.
Still, it seems to be quite a treat for the devices that do work (Amazon doesn’t have a list of supported hardware just yet). Once you’ve got the updated app in place, you’ll see a nice big Test Drive button under the images on an app’s landing page.
The new feature leans heavily on Amazon’s massive EC2 backend — once the Test Drive button is pressed, an instance of the app starts running on EC2 server, with inputs being sent to the server and video/audio being sent back to the device. It’ll be interesting to see how well the feature actually works, but methinks I’ll have to dig through my box of Android gadgets for a bit before I find something that plays actually plays nice with it.