Try Before You Buy Comes to the App Store…Sort of

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Apple has introduced a new Try Before You Buy section to the ever-popular App Store. However, it’s not something that you should get too excited about; the new section only highlights the free and lite applications already available within the store.

The section was revealed yesterday by showcasing just under 100 free-of-charge applications. Those on display include the popular game Angry Birds Lite, navigation app Geocaching Lite, and a lite version of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

The App Store has often been criticized for not offering any demos of applications, while other app stores have some sort of demo feature in place. For example, Google’s competing Android Market allows its users up to 24 hours to try the application, offering a refund policy if it’s not what the user had in mind. Microsoft has revealed that it also plans to offer users a trial period for apps when its Windows Phone 7 marketplace arrives later this year.

Apple’s introduction of this new category has been deemed an attempt to seemingly offer demos on the App Store to remain competitive with Android and the upcoming Windows Phone 7 markets. However, it’s fairly clear that this new Try Before You Buy category is nothing more than a listing. The majority of App Store users will see it for what it really is.

Does Apple even need to offer users demos of apps? The app store has been selling apps aplenty for over two years now and although a handful of users do complain, leaving bad reviews in their wake, this by no means seems to be a widespread concern for most app customers.

Of course, for those snapping up the occasional 99 centĀ application, a demo service doesn’t really seem justified. But when laying down $40 for the Tom Tom app, a brief sample of what the application can offer would probably be appreciated.

What are your thoughts on app trials? Would you like to see demos in the app store, or are you happy with the current setup? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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