Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bluestacks’ beta lets you run almost any of the over 450,000 Android app on Windows

Bluestack was the recipient of the prestigious Best Software award at CES 2012. BlueStacks allows Android apps and games to be enjoyed full-screen on a desktop PC. The company today has released a free beta version of its software, which now supports most of Android’s 450,000 apps.

The new release is a major upgrade over Bluestacks’ alpha version, which initially launched last October, and was downloaded over a million times was made available for three months last year to early testers and was only able to run nine preselected Android apps. The new beta version, which supports Windows 7, Vista, and XP, gives you access to pretty much any Android app — though not all of them run very well.

The beta version launched today uses the company’s Layercake technology, allowing Android apps to run on x86-based PCs.This is a  big step for the startup, which made waves last year when it first announced its emulation technology. Dubbed Layercake, the software emulates Android apps written for ARM processors on x86 processor-based Windows PCs. Without such emulation technology, software between the two different chip platforms is fundamentally incompatible (without being recompiled). Emulation is nothing new, but Bluestacks is the first company devoted to bringing the rich variety of Android apps to PCs.

While the Bluestacks software won’t appeal to everyone, it could be useful for those who want to test out Android apps, or users who want access to apps that don’t yet have desktop versions.

Games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds were playable (though the latter had choppy graphics and sound at times), and productivity apps like Evernote worked without much issue. Strangely, the new Angry Birds Space performed almost flawlessly (see the video below). 3D-heavy apps, like Google Earth, didn’t fair as well, and brought Bluestacks to a crawl.

The company is currently working on making the application faster & also working on a Mac version as gleamed from viewing the source of their website.

So far, California-based BlueStacks has raised $10.6 million so far in a single round of funding.