Bluestacks Android Emulator

When you want to play an android game, what do you do? Most would whip out their android phone or tablet and play away, but what if you do not own an android device, what do you do then? You do what I do and run an emulator.

When I first went out looking for an android emulator, I found maybe 3 that were really anything to look at. Out of the three, one was too complicated, the other to limited, but the last one was just right. It is this last one that I wish to talk to you about today.

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Standard Bluestacks installation

Bluestacks is an android emulation dream. It is easy to install, and easy to use. It emulates a generic android using Ice Cream Sandwich, setup and allows you to install games and applications with ease. In fact if you have an apk file downloaded, just double click on it and the player will start and automatically add the app to the players list and it is installed.

Now, there are some limitations. First of all if you are using your standard pc or mac computer, you will not be able to touch the screen or tilt it from side to side to play apps that use these features. There are some work round’s, but they are not as easy to use as touching the screen is. There are some apps that won’t work at all and some storage limitations.

You do get the use of your mouse, and keyboard which is great, but there are no multi-point touching available, and pinch and zoom is not easy. Joysticks are a life saver and integrate wonderfully with this emulator. I bought one around Christmas time and it works better in the emulator than on windows itself.

Not every application will work. I have run across many that simply will not function or whose function is not needed. Root access is not available and I could not find any rooting apps that would root this emulator at all from within, but don’t despair, because it is possible to run a rooted version.

On my desktop pc I was able to integrate my webcam into the emulator with no troubles, but on my Asus T-100 the built in camera did not work at all. I was not happy and searched online for a fix, but there simply is not one out there. I did just recently learn that if I plugged in a USB cam into the T-100 the cam worked flawlessly.

Now for a bit of bad news, the newest version of the application has a bit of nag ware added to it: nothing evil just some limitations on installing outside apk files to the emulation. It does however allow for non-standard installations, such as putting the bulk of the installation on a different hard drive. Like any new development, there are costs involved and in this case, it is well worth the price.

They have a set top box called Gamepop available that would allow people to play android apps on their TV’s with only a small monthly fee. This is way cool if you ask me. I for one would love to play Angry Birds on a 50+ inch TV. Wow, give me chills thinking about it.

The standard Bluestacks installation will give you an android environment that will consist of about 2 gigs or storage on the phone and the rest of the remaining space for pictures and music. The interface is ok, but not pretty. There are mods out there that will add more storage space and some that will root the application and double the storage space available. Some will even go beyond that. Those that do give full root availability and give you the ability to add a custom launcher for a real tablet/ phone look and feel. I can only say that the programs out there that do the rooting can have some undesired side effects. I tired one out that put everything into Russian, and I had to install an apk that altered the root language. Others will limit abilities and disallow any updates from the original makers. Aside from that it is taking credit away from the original makers and putting it into the hands or hackers.

My current Bluestacks instillation
My current Bluestacks instillation

In the end it is up to you to decide. I for one love the program and believe that it is wonderful. I have spent many an hour playing with it on my desktop and also on my wonderful touch screen T-100 tablet from Asus. I can honestly say it is the best android emulator I have ever used and it does the emulation wonderfully.

Raymond Stapleton
I have worked in and around many different types of computers. In the Navy, I used a magtape drive computer that was a step down from pen and paper. I later worked for a big computer company and after that, taught computer class’s nation wide. I had the privilege of teaching 14,000 students in a 2 years period of time. Afterwards, I owned a small computer training and repair shop for a few years. I have owned C-64’s, Pc’s of various types, Amiga’s, and even Mac’s. I now have included the android to my collection. At any time, I have close to 15-20 computers or combinations of computers and game systems in the house. I look forward to more.
Raymond Stapleton

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