Intel has invested an undisclosed amount in the startup, BlueStacks told VentureBeat today. BlueStacks “LayerCake” technology runs Android apps on any Windows PC and Mac, bridging a gap between mobile and the desktop that neither Google or Apple have tackled yet.
Primarily, Intel wants to make sure that BlueStacks’ software is optimized for its chips. The investment could also be a major help for Intel’s smartphones, like the Europe-only Motorola Razr i, which run its x86-based mobile processors instead of the ARM-based processors that power most other Android phones. Intel claims its mobile chips can run 95 percent of Android apps due to the chip architecture difference with its phones.
“Intel has an extremely powerful PC ecosystem, and they are looking to move into mobile in a big way,” said John Gargiulo, the vice president of marketing and business development at Bluestacks in an interview with VentureBeat. “There are more and more Intel chips on Android phones, so I think the alignment is clear.”
Intel just recently announced a new dual-core Atom mobile processor, but it’s at a severe disadvantage since it only started focusing on mobile chips a few years ago. Meanwhile, competitors like Qualcomm, Samsung, and Nvidia have had years to hone their mobile chips.
BlueStacks forged a deal with AMD to power its AppZone back in September, so Intel likely felt the need to step up its relationship. The news also comes on the heels of BlueStacks’ largest deal yet with Lenovo, a similar partnership with Asus, and the launch of a Surface Pro-optmized app.
“Consumers expect to have similar experiences across all devices, and that includes having access to the same popular apps,” Dave Flanagan, a managing director at Intel Capital, said in a statement. “Bluestacks technology is a key catalyst for us in enabling mobile apps to run on any type of device.”
Intel also relies on Bluestacks for its AppUp app store. Twenty-three apps on AppUp, like the popular news reader Pulse and Talking Tom, are listed as coming “via BlueStack Systems,” according to a Google site search. BlueStacks’ client powers those apps when you download them to your PC. It’s a particularly helpful partnership for Intel, since it brings popular apps to its fairly barren app store.
The Campbell, Calif.-based BlueStacks has also raised $15 million so far from Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Venture Management, Citrix Systems, and others.