Android and Windows users had something to cheer about last week when start-up BlueStacks released the first version of their Android emulation software, which makes running and syncing Android apps on Windows easy. Now hardware giant AMD and virtualization software maker Citrix are investing 5.6 million dollars into the small company, hoping to spur development and expand x86 hardware’s capabilities to include the wide range of Android apps. BlueStacks says that they’ll use the cash to quickly bring feature-complete versions of its Player software to desktop computers.
The potential for BlueStack is promising to say the least. Windows doesn’t have a lot of touch-optimized software at the moment, and with the tablet-friendly Windows 8 on the horizon, that’s a definite handicap. Opening up Windows and other desktop operating systems to hundreds of thousands of Android apps can only help, and considering that x86 tablets tend to be 2-3 times the price of current Android slates, it wouldn’t pose a threat to Honeycomb or upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich tablets. Not only does BlueStacks run Android software on Windows, it can also sync apps with users’ phones, though this early in the development cycle the selection and support is rudimentary at best. The Pro version, which will run paid Android apps, is expected before the end of the year.
AMD could use whatever help it can find at this point. The company has been trailing behind Intel in the processor market for years, and while its Fusion low-power netbook chips have been well-received, they’re still not making a significant dent in the desktop market. Both AMD and Intel are having trouble finding traction in the tablet market, with ARM processors being the internals of choice at the moment. Citrix, a professional virtualization company that already supports the iPad and Android tablets, is also investing in BlueStacks.