Introduction to BlueStacks

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August 2013

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So, what is BlueStacks?

BlueStacks is a suite of tools designed to allow you to run Android apps easily on a Windows or Mac computer. The following screenshot shows how it looks:

At the time of writing, there are two elements to the BlueStacks suite, which are listed as follows:

  • App Player: This is the engine, which runs the Android apps
  • Cloud Connect: This is a synchronization tool

As the BlueStacks tools can be freely downloaded, anyone with a PC running on Windows or Mac can download them and start experimenting with their capabilities. This article will walk you through the process of running BlueStacks on a computer and show you some of the ways in which you can make the most out of this emerging technology. There are other ways by which you can run an emulation of Android on your computer. You can, for instance, run a virtual machine or install the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). These assume a degree of technical understanding that isn't necessarily required with BlueStacks, making BlueStacks the quickest and easiest way of running apps on your computer.

BlueStacks is particularly interesting for users of Windows 8 tablets, as it opens up a whole library of mature software designed for a touch interface. This is particularly useful for those wanting to use many, free, or cheap Android apps on their laptop or tablet.

It is worth noting that, at the time of writing this article, these tools are beta releases, so it is important that you take time to report the bugs that you may find to the developers through their website. The ongoing development and success of the software depends upon this feedback and results in a better product. If you become reliant on a particular feature, it is a good idea to highlight your love to the developers too. This can help influence which features are to be kept and improved upon as the product matures.

App Player

BlueStacks App Player allows a Windows or Mac user to run Android apps on their desktop or laptop. It does this by running an emulated version of Android within a window that you can interact with using your keyboard and mouse. The App Player can be downloaded and installed for free from the BlueStacks website, http://www.bluestacks.com. Currently, there are two main versions available for different operating systems that are enlisted as follows:

  • Mac OS X
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8

Once you have installed the software, an Android emulator runs on your machine. This is a light version of Android that can access app stores so that you can download and run free and paid apps and content. Most apps are compatible with App Player; however, there are some which are not (for technical reasons) and some which have been prevented by the App developers from running.

If you are running any another operating system on your computer, the more computing power you can make available to the App Player the better. Otherwise, you might experience slow loading apps or worse still ones that do not function properly.

To increase your chances of success, first try running App Player without running any other applications (for example, Word).

Cloud Connect

Cloud Connect provides a means to synchronize the apps running on an existing phone or tablet with the App Player. This means that you do not have to manually install lots of apps. Instead, you install an app on your device and sign up so that your App Player has exactly the same apps as your device.

Summary

Thus we learned the basics of BlueStacks and saw a brief of App Player and Cloud Connect feature of BlueStacks

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