Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Run Android Apps On Your Windows PCs With Bluestacks Emulator

We are always looking for new ways to test out the latest Android software and games and today we found an interesting new application that will allow us to do that from the comfort of our desktop. Today, BlueStacks software released a beta copy of the company's App Player, which includes access to thousands of Android apps from any Windows desktop.

The Bluestacks App Player is a software emulator that allows Android applications to run on Windows 7, Vista and XP OSes (Windows 8 support is coming). Upon installing the App Player users can install and run just about any of the 450,000+ Android applications found in the Android Market (aka Google Play). This includes just about all your favorite games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Words With Friends and Draw Something.

The App Player features a popular download section, quick search functionality, and accelerometer support (thanks to the keyboard arrow keys). We didn't test any paid Android apps, but free apps simply downloaded and were available immediately in the My Apps launcher.

BlueStacks says its patent-pending "Layercake" technology, which allows apps that use hardware graphics acceleration to run on x86-based PCs will allow you to run any and all of the available Android apps on your PCs, and although we weren't able to test every single one — the apps we tried worked fairly well without too many issues.

The areas we noticed issues with were mainly a lack of sharp looking graphics. We noticed images didn't scale as nicely as we hoped and text in some of the apps looked blurry. In some of the games scenes looked a little fuzzy, while on others there was some occasional lag. This was especially noticeable in Angry Birds.

Major complaints with the software itself included the app launcher toolbar which was perched rather precariously on top of our home screen, and placed itself over any of our Windows screens. Additionally the software is set to run automatically at start-up and seemed to use a lot of resources with several entries in the task manager. The settings for the actual application were rather limited and I didn't see any options to change either of those!

We've discussed running Android and Android apps on a PC via Google's own SDK, and while that provided us some access it was nothing compared to BlueStacks' interface and ease of use. The software is in beta so some of the minor complaints we had may be fixed by the release date, something Bluestacks hasn't hinted to. We also noticed the software says "free while in beta" so I assume they are working on a paid version.


  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    I completely agree concerning the toolbar! I've uninstalled because I can't deal with that toolbar hovering over my browser. What a pain in the arse.

    1. That was really the only deal killer for me. You can right click the icon in the notification area and exit the application completely however I wanted the ability to not have it run at start-up so I didn't have to do that or totally shit down at exit. I shouldn't have to take two or three extra steps there!


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