Review: Bluestacks: Android Apps on your PC

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I am fascinated by the Android operating system. Unfortunately, since I don’t have an Android phone or Tablet (Not counting the Kindle Fire since it’s not a true Android tablet) I can’t really comment on it. But now I have Bluestacks.

Bluestacks, currently in Beta, allows you to run Android apps on a Windows system. It does this by emulating the Android operating system in a virtual machine. Essentially, you’re given an Android tablet backed by your own computer.

What I like

Well seriously, it’s ANDROID. (Well, the Apps really) ON YOUR PC. How cool is that? Even better, you don’t even need to repurchase apps you already bought. It can sync with your Android phone, as well as with the Android Market. Even better, other app stores such as the Amazon Appstore are also included as well, so if you’re heavy on Amazon’s stuff, you’re covered. All the apps you purchased are usable and work on your computer, which is a wonderful idea! (HINT HINT, APPLE….) 

The main use I see for this is for storing lightweight replacements for programs I frequently use. For instance, I’m thinking of using the WordPress App for Android instead of Live Writer, but considering the run of bad luck I’ve had with WordPress’s app for iOS, that may not be such a good idea.

A place I see real potential for is older computers that could use some life placed in them. I have a 10-year-old Toshiba Laptop just dying for something like this; low powered requirements and plenty of apps could allow me to make it usable again.

What could be improved

Unfortunately, the program is still in beta, so there’s plenty of bugs. I’ve already run into one with a program that requires a long-press on the Home button to access certain features. But the home button on Bluestacks does nothing when long-clicked. There’s also more lag on the program than I’d like to see.

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Also, most Android tablets have the ability to use multiple different homescreens, just like the iPad. Bluestacks does not have this capability. I’d love the ability to organize homescreens based on usability, like blogging/communication/games, etc.

There’s also ads on the program itself. While this should be expected since it’s a free app, the bottom ad can sometimes interfere with the operation of an Android app.

I also have concerns about pricing for the apps. There are apps I know are not free such as Angry Birds and ReadItLater Pro that cost money, and I haven’t seen any information regarding pricing. In fact, I clicked on Angry Birds and it started downloading IMMEDIATELY without prompting me to pay. I find this very scary. If there was some sort of deal beforehand with Rovio and other app makers beforehand, I’d really like to know.

The Bottom Line

The app has some serious potential, but its shortcomings really make it suffer. I trust that as the beta goes on, the software’s bugs will be fixed and the program made better, but until then it’s just an E-curiosity. Not to mention the scare I had with downloading known paid apps.

Still, the idea of playing Android games on your PC will make a lot of people happy, and people can download free apps as well as Amazon’s paid app of the day to check them out.

Bluestacks is available now as a free download.

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