AMD, BlueStacks Partnership Will Bring Android Apps to Windows 8

AMD will use BlueStacks’ App Player technology for its new AppZone, which will open AMD-based Windows PC to more than 500,000 Android apps.

Advanced Micro Devices is teaming up with software startup BlueStacks on a solution that will optimize the performance of Android apps on AMD-powered Windows PCs.

AMD and BlueStacks announced Sept. 27 that BlueStacks’ App Player software, which enables Android apps to run on PCs and Apple’s Macs, will be the engine driving AMD’s new AMD AppZone, an online marketplace that gives PC desktop and notebook players access to more than 500,000 Android apps.

BlueStacks’ solution already enables users to run the Android apps normally used on smartphones and tablets on PCs running x86 chips from AMD and Intel or on Macs from Apple running OS X. However, by leveraging BlueStacks’ LayerCake technology to run the AMD AppZone Player, AMD is able to give users a better and faster experience on AMD-based Windows PCs, according to Gabe Gravning, head of app ecosystem marketing at AMD.

“There are many challenges with running apps that were originally designed for phones or tablets on a PC that in most cases has a larger screen and higher-resolution display,” Gravning wrote in a Sept. 27 post on the AMD Fusion blog. “To solve this, BlueStacks has designed and optimized the player for AMD Radeon graphics and in particular, our OpenGL drivers found in our APUs [accelerated processing units] and GPUs [graphics processing units] so you get a great ‘big-screen’ experience. Additionally, the apps are integrated into AppZone, our online showcase and one-stop-shop for apps accelerated by AMD technology.”

Included in BlueStacks’ technology is a feature called Cloud Connect, a server that enables users to sync their apps and Short Message Service (SMS) communications with an Android device. Users will be able to get the app player either by directly downloading it or downloading one of the apps, which will automatically download the player onto the PC, according to Gravning.

AMD, which a year ago announced it was investing in BlueStacks, will leverage the new BlueStacks capabilities in PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8, which is optimized to run on tablets and is scheduled for release Oct. 26.

A key advantage to the BlueStacks App Player software is that it gives Windows PC users access to more than 500,000 Android apps. With Windows 8 being optimized for tablets, Microsoft has been urging programmers to develop apps for the operating system. The software giant made the final version of Windows 8 available to developers in August, giving them more than two months to create apps before the OS is launched.

However, according to some reports, with a month left before the launch, there are just a little more than 2,000 apps in the Windows Store apps store. BlueStacks’ technology also could make that situation dicier for Microsoft by taking away incentives for developers to create apps specifically for Windows. It might make more sense for the developers to create an Android app that, thanks to BlueStacks’ App Player solution, also could find its way onto Windows PCs.

According to AMD’s Gravning, making all those Android apps available will make the lives of AMD-based Windows PCs better.

“The Android app ecosystem is huge, boasting more than 500,000,” he wrote. “And, increasingly, consumers have a mix of platforms across their devices, for example, an Android phone and a Windows-based PC. Maybe you like the Android version of the app better than the alternatives, or maybe there isn’t an alternative available at all.”