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5/25/2011
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BlueStacks Runs Android Apps On Windows PCs

The startup company's software is designed to help people access apps and data that's stuck on their smartphones from their PC.

Top 20 Android Productivity Apps
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 20 Android Productivity Apps
BlueStacks is a small company backed by Ignition Ventures, Radar Partners, Helion Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. BlueStacks recently scored a $7.6 million Series A financing round from these companies based on its new software, which ports Android applications over to any x86 device running Windows.

The software, BlueStacks said, is meant to help people access both the work and personal applications and/or data that's stuck on their smartphones from their PC. The software supports mouse and keyboard input, as well as multi-touch input. BlueStacks said it also thinks the software will help breathe new life into the PC market because it gives "PC manufacturers the chance to take advantage of the growing consumer demand for Android-based mobile enterprise applications."

There's no doubt that Android is a hot mobile platform right now, and there are a growing number of business applications that run on Google's popular platform. But the idea didn't start with business apps, it started with games.

"The idea is very simple," Chief Executive and co-founder Rosen Sharma said. Sharma said it was born when a colleague's daughter was playing games on an Android phone. "She went to a netbook, and she wanted the same apps on it," Sharma said, but she couldn't find them.

As great as smartphones are for running applications, services, and games, sometimes the experience suffers--if for no other reason than the small size of the screen. Porting Android apps from a phone to a tablet, laptop, or desktop has definite appeal for those who really enjoy their mobile applications.

Businesses see the use case, especially given the number of companies that are developing their own, in-house Android applications. "The number of people who want something like that is very, very large--both consumer and enterprise," Sharma said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2008 with the goal of taking advantage of the fast-growing Android OS market and eliminating the need for users to carry two devices. Sharma noted that, initially, the application will be available as a free beta via the Amazon.com Android store. It hopes to have a final version ready to ship by the end of the year, though pricing on that is still unclear. It also hopes to distribute the software through deals with PC makers and handset makers. It is also working with Citrix.

"Our vision is for an entirely new type of experience that supports the consumer interest in Android and also allows them to access some of the most valuable enterprise applications, enabling them to use their device of choice for work and play," said Sharma. "We are currently working with a number of OEM and strategic partners and look forward to bringing our product to market in Q3 of this year."

Innovative IT shops are turning the mobile device management challenge into a business opportunity--and showing that we can help people be more connected and collaborative, regardless of location. Read the new report from InformationWeek Analytics. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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