When it comes to apps, Windows 8 and Metro are fairly limited. This probably isn’t a problem for most desktop and laptop users since there are plenty of desktop applications that are just as good, or in many cases, better. If you are testing Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a touch-device though, using applications designed for keyboard and mouse can be a little frustrating.
Want to play games like Angry Birds or use Android business apps now? No problem, thanks to BlueStacks AppPlayer. Not too long ago I talked about how the AppPlayer was heading from Alpha to Beta and along with it there would be a Windows 8 Metro optimized version of the player. The good news is that the Beta has finally been released. The bad news is that it doesn’t yet support Metro, and probably won’t until it hits store shelves later this year.
Still, all you have to do is navigate to the desktop or put a shortcut within Metro to have easy access to this Android emulation and all the apps that come with it. How does it work? Actually pretty good, I mean there is a little lag but overall I had a pleasant experience messing around with it, though admittedly I haven’t used it enough to give it a complete rating yet (about an hour with it).
So what kind of apps can you get? Anything from Amazon’s store, GetJar, and 1Mobile Market. That means that titles like Angry Birds Space are actually easily available to Windows 8 tablet and desktop users.
The only thing to keep in mind is that not all graphics drivers are perfect in Windows 8 and if they aren’t officially recognized it might mean high-3D games within BlueStacks won’t work in the Consumer Preview either, just to warn you.
So is this as good as having native access in Metro to thousands of apps? Of course not, but it is nice to have touch-apps that are way beyond the currently limited Windows Store offerings. Looking back at things in a few years, such programs as the AppPlayer will largely be irrelevant as the Windows Store becomes loaded with great choices.
For now though, it’s a great way to take your Windows 8 device’s functionality a lot further by adding many of the apps you might be missing that you regularly use in Android and iOS devices.
I also think that the AppPlayer will be of much more use to Windows 8 users once it has true Metro integration released, like they showed off at CES. The downside is that ARM Windows 8 tablets will likely not be able to benefit from this as they have locked down “desktop application” support and probably won’t be able to install this anyway.
So what do you think of BlueStacks? Is it nice to have Android apps within easy reach for Windows 8 or do you fear that it could slow down the need to make quality Metro apps if the AppPlayer can eventually run seamlessly within Metro? I honestly think it’s a nice perk for now, but nothing can really replace true native apps.
BlueStacks isn’t that slow, but there is a little lag. Got an opinion? Share it below.