Few people used the Test Drive feature, it seems, which allowed Amazon Appstore fans to try emulated apps before they purchased them.
The concept makes sense to us, at leasttrying out apps before you have to buy them. It’s always great to know that an app works well on your phone (or that the app is just as good as you thought it might be when you read the description) before you commit to a purchase. Google gives you a small refund window if you’re dissatisfied; you’ll have to give Apple a legitimate grievance before the company will toss you any cash back.
And if you were on Android, but a big proponent of the Amazon Appstore, you could have used the company’s Test Drive feature to actually try out the apps themselves without having to deal with any refund process whatsoever. We use the past tense, as Amazon has officially abandoned the feature.
According to TechCrunch, company representatives indicated that nobody was really using the feature anymore. That, and with more apps going the free-to-play route (free downloads combined with paid-for expansions or other downloadable content), the need for an app-testing service got less practical.
Test Drive started out as a browser-based emulator for Amazon’s Android apps. Amazon eventually allowed people to use Test Drive from within the Appstore app itself, rolled out as a beta test in May of 2012. At that point, Amazon noted that around 16,000 apps or so worked with Test Drive. That number, as of now, sits at just over 36,000 appsat least, according to Amazon’s website. It’s unclear whether that’s a more realistic figure, or whether Amazon’s note that “over 16,000 apps have been launched on Test Drive” means that its website count is a bit off.
Either figure isn’t that huge of an amount, though, considering that Amazon’s Appstore had a total of 330,000 apps or so toward the start of this year.
“Apps that are currently using TestDrive will still be available and promoted in the Appstore, but without TestDrive functionality. The TestDrive category will be removed from the Appstore client, and we will not be enabling TestDrive for new app submissions,” reads Amazon’s blog post.