Since debuting as an alpha in October 2011, many have used the BlueStacks App Player to run Android apps on their Windows or Mac computers.
Now, the latest version, called BlueStacks2, is even more appealing: You can run multiple Android apps at the same time using BlueStacks2.
BlueStacks essentially creates a virtual machine on a traditional computer to run Android apps. The company says that 96 percent of the 1.6 million Google Play Store apps work with BlueStacks. The app has more than 100 million downloads and one billion Android apps are run within it each month.
BlueStacks2 gets rid of one of the more limiting aspects of the old App Player, which could only run a single Android application at any given time.
The new version looks a bit like a multi-tabbed browser, with each tab representing a different Android app.
These run simultaneously so you can switch between them with a tap and not skip a beat. Also included is a new toolbar with quick-access features such as setting your location, shaking the screen, and adjusting an app's volume. You can also click the Full Screen button for a more immersive experience.
While Microsoft is pushing it Universal Windows App strategy, I'm surprised that it hasn't bought BlueStacks to bring more than a billion tablet optimized apps to its platform. Steve Ballmer might be happy if that were to happen.
Surely, the company has the money to make such a purchase, although I don't know what BlueStacks is worth.
It seems like it would be an easier solution to provide a broad assortment of touch-friendly software titles to the platform; particularly since Microsoft's Project Astoria - a method for developers to easily port their Android apps to Windows - is now on hold at best.