To download apps from the various Android app stores, just enter the app's name into the search bar found below your app gallery. You can download almost anything you could use on your phone; however, some messaging apps may not work. I use text messaging service WhatsApp Messenger, for example, to communicate with friends and family around the world. But in my tests, WhatsApp wouldn't work using App Player.
To find a new app to use, just enter its name into the search bar and press "Find." App Player grabs apps from Google Play.
But you can also download apps from other app stores including Amazon Appstore for Android, GetJar, and 1Mobile Market. Click on the transparent window at the top of your Windows desktop and select the basket icon to choose a specific market.
Setting Up Your Android Device
If you want to receive SMS messages and put the same apps on your phone onto App Player on your desktop, you need to download BlueStacks' Cloud Connect free companion app from Google Play. The app will ask you to enter a PIN that was sent to you via email. You can also find the PIN on App Player by clicking on the "Settings" icon in the lower right corner of the navigation bar. Then, on the next page, select "Cloud Connect," and a pop-up window will appear with the PIN.
Cloud Connect is pretty straightforward to use: you just select the apps you'd like to "sync" with App Player and then press the sync button at the top of the screen. If you'd like to sync all apps to your desktop tap the box next to the sync button.
Despite being called "sync," this feature simply downloads the same apps that you have on your phone to App Player. It does not sync your app settings; log-in information, for example, will have to be reentered.
App Player could be handy for upcoming Windows 8-based touch tablets. If the Windows Store is missing a Metro-style version of an app you'd like to use, you can turn to the BlueStacks App Player. The only downside is you'll be running Android apps on top of a traditional Windows desktop environment.
I briefly tested BlueStacks running in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and it worked about as expected. It was slow (to be fair, I was running Windows 8 in a virtual machine), but was still usable.