BlueStacks is an Android emulator for Windows and Macintosh. And a pretty good one from what I’ve experienced.
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.
Unlike other flavors of Linux (yes, Android is Linux too), there isn’t an Android distribution that can be installed on a desktop PC. An emulator is the only way to experience it without owning a device that runs it natively.
I’ve only tested one other emulator and 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, BlueStacks is using the latest Android version. I could be wrong because I dug into it far enough to confirm it.
I tested an early version of BlueStacks when I was in the Philippines. I can’t tell you how long ago that was but it was probably in 2015. 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 computers I own today.
In 2018, after I started testing some streaming video services on Windows 10, I noticed short pauses during playback. 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 newer version of BlueStacks later the same day. It claimed to run six times faster than Android on native mobile devices. I don’t about that but it was faster than the previous version.
A lot of things have happened since that day in 2018, just shy of two years ago. I pretty much left Windows alone and concentrated on Linux. I never attempted to use another emulator again until today. Today, I installed and tested the latest version of BlueStacks, the 64-bit version released in 2019. It’s still running on Windows 10, but I’m using 16 gigabytes of memory instead of four.
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 want to use BlueStacks to model what it would be like to do all my web development on an Android tablet (but not one running an offshoot like a Kindle Fire tablet). A native Android distribution would be a better alternative but 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 (Resized)
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in September 2018.