Running Android apps on a computer can be as simple as downloading and installing a programme called BlueStacks App Player. This beta software is able to run Android apps on your computer and is available for Windows (XP and above) and Mac OS X.
It used to be that only developers would be interested in running Android apps on their computers and mainly for the purpose of ensuring that their mobile apps worked properly on the operating system.
Otherwise, there were few reasons to run Android apps on a computer, which did not have a touchscreen or a display that was optimised for a mobile app. They would look blurry and pixellated on the larger computer screen.
The introduction of Microsoft's touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system last year changed this. Windows 8 PCs are more likely to have touchscreens. Some of them are also designed to be used as tablets.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to run Android apps is that the fledgling app store for Windows 8 does not have as many apps as the established Google Play store for Android. Microsoft revealed in July that the number of apps in the Windows Store had passed the 100,000 mark. In comparison, there are more than 800,000 Android apps.
Besides Google Play store having more apps, the Windows Store also lacks some popular apps, especially in the games category. There are also apps that are free on Android, but available only as paid versions on Windows 8.
Hence, running Android apps on a Windows PC is not the far-fetched idea it once was. And this is reflected in the growth of BlueStacks, which now claims more than 10 million downloads on its website. The software company, which released the Windows beta version only last year, has also inked partnerships to preload BlueStacks on Windows 8 computers from PC vendors Asus and Lenovo.