How to run Android apps in Windows

Although smartphones are available with Windows, as the most popular operating system for handheld devices most of us are using Android while we’re on the move.

This means that we have to juggle two operating systems – Windows on our desktop or laptop, something quite different on our phone or tablet.

Many of us are used to sharing data between these devices – either by synchronising in the cloud or transferring documents locally via Bluetooth or USB.

But what about sharing software? If you have apps you like on your phone, why can’t you use them on your PC? Conversely, if you have a package that’s useful on your PC, why shouldn’t you be able to use it on your Android tablet? The good news is that you can.

Running Android apps and games on Windows

You can run Android apps on a Windows PC or laptop using an Android emulator app. BlueStacks is one solution, but it’s not entirely intuitive in use. YouWave and KoPlayer are alternatives for emulating Android in Windows.

The BlueStacks App Player is free to use. The program will allow you to run Android apps on your Windows machine, but as it’s not a full Android emulator you won’t get the full Android experience.

In order to use BlueStacks you’ll have to sign-in with a Google account; if you don’t have already have one you’ll need to sign up for one as you would on any Android device.

A key emphasis of BlueStacks is on playing Android games under Windows, so when you run BlueStacks most of the screen will be taken up with game suggestions.

However, unlike some similar packages, BlueStacks includes Google Play, so you can search for and install apps in just the same way as with a true Android phone or tablet.

We did experience a few problems, though, such as when we ran the Wind-Up Knight there were texture problems meaning we couldn’t properly see our game.

Secondly, with some apps, the screen looked very pixelated although this is probably inevitable on a large PC screen when you’re using an app that had been written for a small low-resolution screen.

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