RT Cunningham


BlueStacks, an Android Emulator for the Windows and Macintosh Desktops

BlueStacks android emulator BlueStacks is an Android emulator for Windows and Macintosh. And a pretty good one from what I’ve experienced so far.

If you don’t own an android phone (yours has an Apple or Microsoft operating system), a good emulator could show you what you’re missing. Or not missing. I guess it depends on your point of view.

Getting an Android Emulator

Unlike other flavors of Linux (yes, Android is Linux too), there isn’t a distribution that can be installed on a desktop PC. An emulator is the only way (today) to experience it without owning a device that runs it natively.

I’ve only tested one other emulator and it was MEmu. I didn’t like it. Here’s a list of emulators for Windows. I can’t say, other than BlueStacks, which ones will run on a Macintosh. From what I understand, only BlueStacks is using the latest Android version. I could be wrong.

Using an Android Emulator

I tested a much earlier version of BlueStacks when I was in the Philippines. I can’t tell you how long ago that was but it had to be within the last four years. It was very slow on the laptop computer I was using at the time. Times have definitely changed. The latest version is pretty fast on the laptop computer I’m using today.

After I started using some streaming video services on Windows 10, I noticed short pauses during playback. There isn’t a native Windows application for Tubi but the website interface works well enough. I installed BlueStacks the same day to see if the Android application would behave the same way on my PC. It didn’t. I watched an old movie in its entirety and I didn’t notice even one pause.

I installed a new version of BlueStacks this morning. It claims to run six times faster than Android on native mobile devices. I don’t about that but I know it’s faster than the previous version. It even loads faster.

Why use an Android Emulator?

Some people want to use it for playing games on a bigger and faster computing device. Others want to use it for platform development. I don’t know what anyone else would want to use it for and I really don’t care.

I only use it for the applications I can’t use natively on Windows 10. Or the applications that run better on Android. I may start playing certain Android-based games on it, where I can use a mouse instead of sliding my finger around. I honestly don’t like touching screens with my fingers, on any device.

If I ever go back to using Linux Mint, I’ll have to find another emulator. BlueStacks doesn’t run on Linux. Again, it would only be for the applications that run better on Android.

I think a native Android distribution would be a better alternative but alas, I’m not an operating system developer. I’m not even a contributor. Until someone smarter than me comes up with one, I’ll have to be content with what I can get.

Image Attribution: BlueStacks Press Kit

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By RT Cunningham
September 19, 2018

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