Amazon's Apps Gives ‘Em What They Want

We kick tires on cars, bounce on showroom mattresses and sample the crab dip at Costco, so why not thumb through an app before purchasing? Amazon feels you.

Test Drive is up and running -- a service that lets users sample some of the available applications in Amazon's Android store (also being sued by Apple for trademark infringement). Test Drive was supposed to be a primary feature of the store, according to, but was disabled a few minutes after the store openend last week. It's back now.

Test Drive gives users a cloud-based pop-up window allowing control of whichever app has the feature. Full-on graphics display -- as well as ads -- gives a real-world sampling of what you're about to purchase. At present, it works on a few hundred of Amazon's 3,800 apps.

Android Market and Apple's App Store do not allow for previews, offering only in-app screen grabs. Apple's store search is pretty tight, but Android's is (ironically) clunky.

Google once offered a 24-hour return policy for apps, but sunsetted it quickly. Apple's return policy for apps has at least one positive testimonial, but users have to raise a human to get the ball rolling.

And now developers are heading to the third-party Amazon in droves, according to, too.

Amazon also offers a daily free app, but today they are doubling down: Farm Frenzy and Newsweek Mobile.

It seems that "give the people what they want when it comes to customer service" has always been core to Amazon, while some others are still getting around to that tenet.

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