Amazon Appstore update begins Test Drive beta

Test Drive apps on your Android device
Test Drive apps on your Android device

Android users who frequent the Amazon Appstore will now be able to sample apps right on their device.

With the version 2.6.53 update to the Amazon Appstore, users will have access to Amazon's Test Drive feature through their phone.

Test Drive launched as a feature for Amazon's web store last year. It works by launching a copy of the desired app from the company's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), allowing users to test new apps without needing to download them first.

Now, that feature arrives directly through Amazon's Appstore on smartphones. Test Drive on Android still streams the app from Amazon EC2, so it doesn't exactly offer an accurate sampling of how apps will perform on various devices.

However, testing an app right on your phone is certainly a step closer to the real thing than a simulated version running on your PC.

Not for everyone, yet

The catch is that not all apps support Test Drive yet. Though the PC Appstore has more than 16,000 apps supported, the Android phone launch will offer 5,000 Test Drive capable apps.

Test Drive in the Amazon Appstore will also only work on "select phone models" for now, with compatibility for more devices to be added over the next few months.

But, Amazon hasn't specified which phone models are included in the initial launch.

That being said, Amazon marks this launch as the Test Drive Android beta, with more support on the way.

As support for more devices and apps are added, the Test Drive button will automatically be added to each app's store page.

Google Play, which was formerly the Android Market, only offers a 15 minute cooling off period to return an app once purchased.

Once more app and device support arrives, Test Drive's instant app trials could draw a lot of new customers to favor the Amazon Appstore over Google's own option.