What is Bluestacks?
BlueStacks App Player is the application for Windows and MacOS which enables you to run Android applications and play Android games on your computer. Extend the functionality of your computer with the magic of the Android and feel the beauty of playing Android games on a large display.
Download BlueStacks App Player: http://www.bluestacks.com/app-player.html
I’ve been following this software since its alpha version and in this version I have just the words of praise. For example, previous versions couldn’t run more complex games like Dead Trigger, but this version runs Dead Trigger 2 in full screen with no problems.
Important thing is that Bluestacks doesn’t require any additional virtualization software such as VMWare or Virtual Box, so it’s a common Windows application. I say this because you can find various tutorials to install Android as a virtual machine, and this article doesn’t cover that topic.
Bluestacks’ first run and configuration
After you download the setup file, install Bluestacks (I chose the custom installation path: C:\Bluestacks). This version I tried on Windows 8, 64-bit. Note two shortcuts on your desktop; the first one is shortcut to Bluestacks, and the second one allows you to run applications installed in Bluestacks. Run Bluestacks and click on Top Apps:
Compared to previous versions, the new interface is kind of plain and simple, but functional. On the picture above are shown some of the popular applications.
Interesting thing is that Bluestacks comes with 1 Mobile Market preinstalled and configured (as alternative to Google Play Store) but it isn’t the default store app, and it’s a bit uneasy to find it. You can find its shortcut here:
Double click this shortcut to run 1 Mobile Market, and try to install an application or a game:
I was surprised when I installed this cool file mananger ES File Manager and it went OK, with no additional configuration of this market. It’s great alternative to the default Google Play Store. Let’s get back to Google Play; open Bluestacks, click on Top Apps and click on desired application. The next dialog will open:
This is One time setup, consisted of two steps, where you need only the first step (Enable AppStore) to be able to install applications and games via Google Play. Enable AppSync is optional step and I didn’t configure it. Click on Continue:
You can add the existing Google account, or create a new one. I prefer creating a new account for this kind of experimenting, to be independent of my real account on my Android smartphone. Proceed on, when you enter your login data:
OK, Google Play is configured; you can configure the App Sync, as well:
I don’t need this feature, to synchronize applications between Bluestacks and Android smartphone. Everything in this article has been done without sync configured.
Other settings can be configured in BlueStacks Settings, which can be seen in the picture below:
Cloud Connect synchronizes your phone with Bluestacks, but I don’t use this option either, because I don’t want my SMS and other data synchronized with Bluestacks (although this is a good feature).
In this version, access to Windows files is eased. With Import Windows Files feature you can easily import your favorite songs, pictures and other data. I’ll mention that in the following chapters. Now let’s have a look at software installation.
How to install and use Android applications and games on Bluestacks
OK, we’re ready to roll! You can use 1 Mobile Market or Google Play Store (you can install another store as well, e.g. Amazon App Store).
Note that you can install applications without using these stores/markets, because Bluestacks sets file associations upon installation. That means you can download Android setup file in APK format, double click it, and Bluestacks will install that application for you.
I downloaded APK file of AndExplorer and installed it.
Let’s install some games via Google Play Store; have a look at the first picture in this article and note Time Mysteries 2, developed by Artifex Mundi, and click on it:
I like these puzzle games, because they can be a good way to enrich your vocabulary.
Application installation status can be seen from the left drop bar (right drop bar is used to see owner information and to access the settings).
This game is running without lags.
Enjoy your play.
Let’s try now a heavy game – Dead Trigger 2 which requires more processing power (CPU and GPU):
Pause the game and configure your keyboard in the Gamepad section:
I’d like to write a few words about Bluestacks’ preinstalled apps. Click on All Apps (I made this screenshot after installing Time Mysteries, so every app except this one is preinstalled):
Note that there’s no 1 Mobile Market listed, although it’s preinstalled. Two cools apps are Browser and Swift HD Camera.
Internet Browser enables you to surf the Internet and this time it’s on large screen; see how this blog looks like:
If you have Web camera on your computer, try to take a selfie 😛 :
Data interchange between Windows and Bluestacks
A convenient way to have your files in Bluestacks is by using Import Windows Files:
This is a very useful feature, just select the file and import it.
Another way is using shared folder that both Windows and Bluestacks can access it. You need to install a file manager on Bluestacks to access this folder. I ran ES File Manager I previously installed and opened BstSharedFolder:
Navigate to your installation path using Windows Explorer; my shared folder is located here:
Bluestacks is more stable and advanced software than ever. Whether you are a demanding gamer that want to play Android games faster than on the smartphone, to use the keyboard and big screen, with no worries about phone’s limited storage, or you are a geek that want to try or test bunch of applications with no impact on the smartphone and wants to extend Windows with highly developed “Droid word” – this is the right application for you 🙂 .
If you are Android beginner, or never tried Android before, Bluestacks can be good foundation to prepare yourself for vast features that Android delivers.