Jul 9, 2012
HandyGames’ BlueStacks app player that allows computer users to test out Android apps had previously only been on Windows. No more! Now Mac users can get in on the BlueStacks action with the first beta now available. (see photo at left of the marriage of Android and Mac)
Now, let’s immediately confront the inherent contradiction of owning a Mac and wanting to test Android apps. Well, it turns out not everyone who uses a Mac is an iPhone user, or obsessed with just iOS! I mean, I use iOS all the time, but I use Android too, and I was an Android user well before I was a Mac user! So deal with it!
BlueStacks emulates an Android device on Mac, with apps living in individual instances. So, don’t expect to get Twitter notifications while checking Facebook in BlueStacks.
Right now, the ability to install custom apps besides what is bundled is not included (that’s planned for beta 2), but there’s Twitter, Facebook, and various games included. The one that might show the limitations of using a touchscreen interface on a desktop with a trackpad is Fruit Ninja. It’s not as intuitive or accurate, but it is playable. I scored 158 on my first try in Zen mode, not fantastic but certainly not completely terrible. The game played at full speed, too â€“ it uses the full power of one’s computer in order to run these apps like on actual hardware. For Magic Trackpad users on the Mac, it appears as if 2-finger gestures will serve as multitouch for pinching gestures. Twitter runs a lot better on BlueStacks than it does on my phone, that’s for sure.
This has some advantages for both users and developers. Now those developers porting their games over to Android will have a computer simulator to help test out, theoretically. Find an interesting free Android game or app worth trying out? BlueStacks may just be able to run it. Long-term usage may not be as good as using an actual device just because of the differences in interfaces, but it is an interesting testing method. BlueStacks is available for free from their website.