Well would you look at that? I suppose it had to happen eventually: a company by the name of BlueStacks has developed a software solution that works on Windows based PCs which allows users to utilize a full Android experience. As our sister-site SlashGear’s Ben Bajarin notes, several PC companies have shown interest in this odd solution already, OEMs thinking that it might not be a terrible idea to try out the ability to run this ever-growing mobile OS out on their not-so-mobile hardware. Why not?
If the rumors are true, developers may soon be smart to be considering developing apps that work not only in the mobile space, but also in the desktop, laptop, and Google TV space as well. What would BlueStacks mean for a game like, say, Vendetta Online, a MMORPG for outer-space-minded individuals? It’d mean a truly integrated ecosystem in which users would be able to access the same game, or more broadly, the same app anywhere they go, switching from desktop or TV mode to mobile mode without ever having to switch their way of thinking because it’s literally the same app.
Is there value in this sort of system? I don’t think that question even need be asked!
How it Works
BlueStacks has developed a way to virtualize a full Android OS on x86-based Windows PCs. What Ben saw this past weekend was a 28-inch HP TouchSmart all-in-one PC running Android 2.2 Froyo without a hitch. In fact, what he saw was a virtual OS on which he could be running a Windows app, minimize, open an Android app, minimize, and switch back and forth between at will. Is that called multi-tasking? You tell me.
What’s more impressive than being able to run several apps from different OS’ at the same time is the ability to use Windows utilities and drivers. That means that if you’re in an Android app and you’d like to print something – no problem, just go to the top of the menu bar and hit print and it’ll call on Windows’ printer drivers to do the job. Similarly, inside Android’s version of Skype, you’ll be using Windows drivers to get the audio and video job done.
Android Market Access
Nope! Because of the restrictions Google has in place around the Android Market, aka what’s called getting “licensed” by Google for Android, BlueStacks will not be allowed access to the official Android Marketplace. However, due to the rapidly growing popularity of the Amazon app market, there may well be a strong substitute for all those worried about not having access to their favorite hero apps.
BlueStacks is not publicly available at the moment, but will be released for anyone to download later this year. What does this mean for Microsoft, specifically? It means they may need to re-adjust their business model in order to compensate for the places where they’ve been getting ready to compete with Android. What if consumers begin to prefer using Android versions of apps on their PC instead of their Windows counterparts?
As Ben mentions also, Intel and AMD will certainly be happy if this situation takes off since “both of them have needed to offer a compelling reason to consider Android on X86.” As far as everyone in the PC manufacturing world, this may well have opened up a door they considered completely barred and cemented before, allowing them to go mobile without actually going mobile, if you know what I mean.
What do you think? Android on your gaming PC for superior Andy integration? I promise you we’ll be right on top of this all the way to release and beyond.