March 31, 2012, 7:50 AM — If you're dying to run Android applications on your Windows machine, then you'll want to check out the recently released BlueStacks App Player beta, an Android app emulator for Windows XP, Vista, and 7.
The software gives you access to Android apps on the Android Market, GetJar, the Amazon AppStore or 1Mobile Market, and allows you to run them on your desktop.
You can also use a companion Android app to download the same apps you have on your Android device to your computer and receive SMS messages sent to your phone on your PC.
If you'd like to give BlueStacks a try, here's how to get started.
To download the App Player beta grab it from the BlueStacks site by clicking on the "Download Now" button on the landing page and run the .EXE file. If your computer is missing the .NET framework 3.5, you will be prompted to download that utility before App Player will install. The program takes a few minutes to install as it grabs most of the app's required files and other information from online.
The set-up process is pretty straightforward, but Android smartphone owners will want to be sure they click the "Yes" radio button saying they have an Android phone. You will then be prompted for an email address and your telephone number including country code. BlueStacks will then send you an email and SMS message detailing how to sync your phone with App Player.
In my tests, I did not receive an SMS, but all the information I needed to sync my device was contained in the email.
Once you've entered your Android device details, you are ready to go, and you can start using the app. By default, you get a number of apps to try out right away such as Barnes & Noble's Nook app, Documents To Go, Evernote, Fruit Ninja Free, Pulse, and StumbleUpon.
To launch an app, click once on the program's icon. To return to the App Player start screen, click on the BlueStacks icon in the center of the navigation bar at the bottom of the App Player window.
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