Good Grief Charlie Brown: Android Apps Play in Windows:
This is the first year in many that I have not bothered to attend the annual CES show in Las Vegas. I didn’t go for a couple of reasons. First, virtually everything you might want to see at the show is available online, usually in video; second, there hasn’t been much in the way of exciting new products. The “Best in Show” award this year went to LG for a 55″ OLED TV that won’t be out until mid-year and will cost (an estimated) $8,000 – $10,000. It has about the same picture quality as a plasma selling for a fifth of the price. It is skinnier than a plasma and uses less energy. Yawn.
Maybe this is exciting for you, but not for me. Lemme tell you what I do find exciting.
Last year, a startup company calling itself Bluestacks came up with a piece of software that allowed a user to run Android apps on a Windows 7-based PC. The program is called App Player for PC (isn’t that exciting?). The company also produces a program called Cloud Connect. That program allows you to transfer Android-based apps from your phone or tablet to App Player for PC. In other words, you get an Android app from Android Market (which does not run on your PC), move it to the cloud and send it to your PC. Even though the program is still in Alpha version, it appears to work flawlessly on my PC. Very cool indeed.
Back to CES. Microsoft announced that BlueStacks would be built into Windows 8, scheduled for release later this year. Windows 8, if ya didn’t know, is Microsoft’s next major iteration of Windows. It sports an entirely new User Interface called Metro (you will still be able to use the old one if you want), and will run on every platform including phones and tablets as well as PCs. Although European cellphone leader Nokia made a commitment to Windows 8, nobody else in the mobile world has paid much attention to it, in large part because there aren’t many apps or developers who plan to write apps for it.
BlueStacks changes all that. Windows 8 users will immediately have access to all 400,000 Android apps and run them on phone, tablet, netbook or PC. Underscoring its importance, Microsoft announced that Bluestacks will be bundled with Windows 8. This will remove the lack-of-apps barrier to purchasing Windows 8 based mobile platforms. Sure, Microsoft would prefer that all those 400,00 apps would be written native to run on Windows, but it might have to wait for the return of the dinosaurs for that to happen.
BlueStacks has announced that it is working on a version for the iOS (Apple’s operating system), so you will be able to run Android apps on Apple products. This is the kind of strategy that should ultimately lead to hardware price wars. I can hardly wait.