BlueStack is a product that unifies the Android and Windows enviroments. This has to be good for developers but is it groundbreaking?
BlueStacks sounds like a clever idea - it is, but not as clever as it first seems. The idea is a great one but it is more about marketing and spotting an easy option than it is about deep creative programming.
Given that the company has just been given $7.6 million startup funding you have to admire the effort and feel a little envious that you didn't think of it first.
What BlueStacks promises is a way to run Android Apps on your desktop or laptop PC. Sounds good and it sounds like a major engineering project until you notice something. You can already run Android Apps on your Windows-based machine. When you download the Android SDK you get a full Android emulator you can use it to run your applications during development or you can download other apps and try them out.
So you have Android Apps running on Windows right out of the box.
What is more The emulator is based on QEMU and open source machine emulator. The Android emulator is in turn also open source - Download Google android emulator source package.
BlueStacks has quite a headstart on its target to build a system that allows it to run Android apps on Windows. Of course the company claims that it is using new "virtualization" technology which is much faster than machine level emulation. Only time will tell if it is correct, but having access to most of the code of the system does make it so much easier to build something like this. It is interesting to note that no-one is trying the same trick with iOS devices - which are not open source. They also claim that the Android environment will be much better integrated with Windows allowing file and device sharing.
From the point of view of the end user it should be possible to make it appear that Android apps and Windows apps are running in the same environment. After all does it matter to most users where their apps come from or what they run on. However BlueStacks won't have access to the official Google Android Market and there are plans for it to use the Amazon Android App Store.
So unification seems to be the name of the game. Now if only some one can find a way to do the same job for iOS devices.