If you think I’m preoccupied with mobile phones and the Android operating system, you’re half-right. Until the last of our relatives left, more than a week after the family reunion was over, I couldn’t use anything but my phone without being bothered by someone. It was during this time that I discovered more than I wanted to know about my phone. I must have restored it to the factory defaults at least five times.
I consider the Android operating system (Google) far superior to iOS (Apple). One of my relatives uses one of the latest iPhones and it annoyed me just to watch him using it. Android is built on Linux and iOS is a variant of Mac OS X, which runs on UNIX. They’re kind of like of cousins who don’t get along.
I don’t have any experience whatsoever with any other operating systems that mobile devices may be running on. It’s not that I’m sheltered or anything like that. I just haven’t seen anyone using anything else. The Windows phones might be better than the rest (or worse), but I have nothing to look at to make that kind of determination.
Out of curiosity, I searched for Android variants that could run on a PC (desktop or laptop) and I found Android-x86. I had already removed Virtualbox from my laptop and I’m loathe to re-install it just to test another Linux distribution, but I’m sure I’ll be doing it sooner or later. I also found BlueStacks, an Android emulator for Windows. I didn’t hesitate to install that.
It took what seemed like forever for BlueStacks to install. When it was done, it launched all by itself in full-screen mode. Luckily, I knew what the icons meant and I reduced it to a window. I don’t know when it actually went into full-screen mode and it could have happened while it was installing data files. I was busy doing other things while it was doing its thing.
The folks behind BlueStacks did a pretty good job with it. Too good, in fact. I installed Dolphin (the best Android web browser I’ve used so far) and it pulled in web pages just as slow as it does on a mobile phone. Now that’s true emulation! All kidding aside, I would love to see a native Windows version of Dolphin. Somehow I don’t think its developers really care for that much competition.
You can play a lot of free Android games using BlueStacks. The Google Play Store operates just fine. When I was playing with it (the emulator, not a game), it was just like I was using my phone. The only difference is I could click the icons with my mouse.
I haven’t told my younger son, Jon, about it yet. He’s a video game fanatic and I’m sure he’d appreciate being able to play games on his laptop instead of his Samsung Galaxy S4 (for some games, I’m sure). He’s on the opposite side of the world, so leaving a message on Skype would probably be a better idea than calling him. You know, that time zone thing.
I doubt I’ll leave the emulator on my laptop. I’m not really a video game playing kind of guy.
By: RT Cunningham
February 13, 2015
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