BlueStacks, which lets users run Android applications on any x86-based Windows PC, is the latest in a string of attempts to bring the bells and whistles of a mobile operating system to traditional computers.
That means three of the largest mobile operating systems have now either made it, or are on their way to making it, to traditional computers. Apple’s latest operating system, Lion, promises to bring a lot of features from its iPhone operating system to the Mac. Hewlett-Packard is bringing WebOS, the mobile operating system for its Pre line of phones and its newest TouchPad tablet, to PCs. The benefit is that mobile applications are so easy to use that tablets and smartphones have replaced traditional computers for a lot of users.
Research in Motion hasn’t given any kind of indication that it will be bringing any part of its BlackBerry operating system to computers — or the QNX software that its Playbook tablet runs. Windows hasn’t announced whether it will bring any parts of Windows Phone 7 to the next version of Windows — although some leaked screenshots suggest that’s what’s happening in Windows 8.
BlueStacks is similar to Parallels Desktop for Mac, which lets Mac users run an instance of the Windows operating system in a window. Both operating systems are basically running simultaneously, so the user doesn’t have to reboot the computer to start a different operating system as some other operating systems require.
In addition to quickly accessing Android applications on a laptop for testing, users could essentially turn a Windows tablet into an Android tablet — although it would probably run less smoothly than a tablet actually built for that purpose. The software handles both touch interfaces and mouse input to interact with the applications.