Amazon Appstore begins cloud-based Test Drive beta

Amazon Web Services logo on a white background

Android smartphone users of Amazon’s Appstore will now be able to try out apps before installing them on their phones via the cloud.

The latest 2.6.53 update to Amazon Appstore will allow users to access the “Test Drive” feature that starts up a cloud-based version of the app running from Amazon’s AWS infrastructure.

The Test Drive beta has been launched with Amazon enabling around 5,000 Android apps to use this feature. The trial last for ten minutes and the app runs from an instances running on Amazon’s EC2 web service. As users interact with the app, those inputs are sent over the phone’s wireless internet connection to the app running on Amazon EC2. Amazon’s servers then send the video and audio output from the app back to the customer’s computer or phone.

The apps running in the cloud can’t access all the resources of the smartphone. The Appstore sandbox allows access to the touch screen and accelerometer but can’t access the phone’s GPS, camera, microphone or multi-touch. But Amazon said that this may change over time.

A similar scheme for the web has been run by Amazon for over a year and this is the first time this functionally has been brought to the phone.

“The more we remove friction for customers who want to try apps, the more apps they will try. Those customers are more likely to find apps they are excited to download,” said Jerry Heinz, general manager of Test Drive on the company’s Appstore blog.

“In this way, Test Drive helps customers understand the value of premium apps and helps drive downloads of freemium apps,” he said.

He said the apps running in the cloud worked in real-time allowing customers to explore the features of the app as if it were running locally on their mobile device.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.