To complement Google’s annual developers conference, I/O 2012, which took place on Monday of this week and saw a few new products, including Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a new Nexus 7 tablet and that famous Google Project Glass head-mounted computer, BlueStacks has released an alpha version of its Android emulation program for Macs, allowing you to run a number of Android apps directly on your Mac.
The release follows BlueStacks for Windows, which was released back in March this year and amounted an amazing 1 million downloads in just 9 days within launch. The app runs Android apps in their own virtualisation environment whilst still maintaining their original functionality.
The app, which is available as an alpha download from their website, is currently in Alpha status (so there will probably be some bugs and issues that need fixing) and runs as a Stack next to your Trash on your Dock. BlueStacks have signed up with several developers and there are 17 apps available, including Facebook, Pulse, Seesmic, Twitter for Android and WhatsApp (which also works despite being a app completely for mobile phones), with more to follow. There is also talk about optimising the apps for high-resolution retina graphics on the new MacBook Pro and the company is also positioning the App Player as a way of “breaking open the Apple ecosystem”.
BlueStacks may also make it possible for Mac users to download and experience free Android apps, instead of purchasing them off the App Store. Angry Birds, for instance (sorry to use a clichéd example!), is free on the Android platform (ad-supported, of course) but £0.69 (for me anyway) from the App Store. If more developers sign up to BlueStacks, then there may be more free apps available for Mac, though at some limitations (the emulation can be a bit jerky sometimes).
BlueStacks for Mac is available for immediate download (installation around 850 MB) from their website. Be warned, though, that this release is an alpha version so there will almost certainly be some bugs and limitations at the moment. And although the project is currently in its infancy, we are pretty certain that more developers will sign up soon, giving you a far greater choice of apps.