When I heard about BlueStacks back in 2011, it was just amazing for the first time being able to run apps only available for Android in Windows. Now the emulator company from Silicon Valley is back with a new version that is optimized specifically for the recently launched Microsoft Surface Pro, bringing over 750,000 new apps to the existing 40,000+ Windows 8 apps inventory to this incredible tablet, many of which probably will never make it to the Windows Store.
For those people unfamiliar with this product, BlueStacks App Player is a program creates a virtual environment that enables Windows and Mac users alike to install and use mobile apps designed only for Google Android operating system.
What it means optimized for Surface Pro? It means that users can run mobile apps in full screen that behave pretty much like the modern Windows 8 apps. It includes a new menu similar to Windows Charms, and landscape/portrait rotation support.
I had the chance to install and play with the new App Player for a few days using Twitter, Flipboard and a few other apps, and it is impressive the performance and responsiveness; sometimes you will not notice that they are running in a virtual environment.
I also tried the emulator on a couple of Windows 8 PCs, in one it worked OK, but I found that navigation was a little frustrating using the mouse (the reason for this might be that Android is a touch-first operating system), the program didn’t support the native resolution of the monitor and at first I had a hard time trying to shut down the program, but nothing that the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut didn’t fix. In another PC I tried to install BlueStacks but due to some issues with the video driver I wasn’t able to even start the install.
BlueStacks is available now, it is free and you can download the latest version at GetYourAppsBack.com.