The Amazon app store is making headlines once again as it offers a virtual Android device so that users can test the app before they buy it. So far this feature is only available in the US and only works in your desktop’s browser.
The great thing about it is that Amazon actually built a virtual machine for these demos instead of creating a Flash element that models what an Android device would do. Amazon’s explanation sums things up nicely:
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.
This, coupled with the fact that Amazon releases a free, featured app each day means that Amazon could have a huge success story in their future. What’s keeping that success story from happening? Their ill-advised choice to name it the Amazon “app store,” which Apple owns and is now suing Amazon.