You can now run your favourite Android apps on your Windows desktop thanks to new software called BlueStacks, but why would you want to do that?
Because with over 500,000 Android apps there’s a world of cool, useful and fun apps just waiting to be used! BlueStacks App Player is an amazing Windows program that will enable you to run Android apps on your Windows PC, laptop or netbook.
You will be able to use the same touch-enabled apps on your desktop, and what’s even better, if you have a Windows touch-enabled computer, you can enjoy the same finger-swiping input on your Windows system as you do on your Android device.
BlueStacks isn’t new though – it was first used in the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro. This was a Windows tablet that allowed you to switch to an Android mode to run Android apps. It was all a good little feature. BlueStacks basically provides an emulated Android mode for Windows; it’s not a complete system emulator, it will only provide exclusive access to a single app at any one time.
The apps will be launched from within the BlueStacks software and while it is possible to add more apps, you have to do this through official BlueStacks supplied routes.
This is not a bad thing though; adding more apps can be done via a cloud-based system. This will allow you to send your apps to all of your Windows systems that have BlueStacks installed.
There’s no need to manually install apps either, they’ll just be there. Currently the BlueStacks system is in alpha, and it has already been updated but expect more change to come.
Having said that, even in an alpha stage it works really well. Using an older dual-core Intel Core 2 processor running at 2.8GHz coped easily when I tested it out, but you may find that Intel Atom processor-based netbooks will struggle.
So let’s show you how to get those Android apps running on Windows…
1. Get yourself BlueStacks
You can get BlueStacks from Bluestacks.com – at the moment it is free to download but it does have a few limitations. There is a maximum of 23 apps and only support for Windows 7. Windows Vista and Mac support is planned for the future but Windows XP users are out of luck. Remember it will require about 1GB of space on your root drive, which is usually the C: drive.
2. Time To Play
Once you have installed BlueStacks, it will sit on your desktop as a Windows Desktop Gadget, which will look like an Android robot sat on a Windows logo. If you hover your mouse over this you’re able to drag or close the gadget. One single click opens the app browser that displays all of the currently installed Android apps. Simply click one to get started.
3. Touch Input
Interacting with BlueStacks using the mouse is just like using your finger on your Android phone or tablet. You also get some controls along the bottom of the screen including the standard Android back button, Android Menu, screen rotate, enlarge, open more apps and a close button. If you have a touchscreen Windows 7 PC such as the HP TouchSmart 520, you can use the touchscreen like you would with a smartphone – it’s amazing!
4. Full screen
BlueStacks only runs full screen. This could be an issue if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s still multitasking with Windows. Press the Windows key or Alt + Tab and you can switch to other running tasks or use normal Windows programs over your Android ones.
6. Hacking BlueStacks
You may think it’s just an Android emulator, but BlueStacks is actually running Android under the hood. This means it can be rooted and hacked like any other Android device (and I love hacking Android). If you want to do this you can take a look at the XDA thread on the subject.
So that’s BlueStacks, I’ve been running it on my HP all-in-one TouchSmart PC for a while now and I must say I am happy with the effect, give it a go you will not be disappointed!
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