Ina Fried

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BlueStacks’ Android-on-Windows App Hits Beta

With many of the most popular apps running on smartphones and tablets these days, it’s not surprising that folks are looking to bring the top hits over to the PC and Mac.

Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, for example, have made their way from the small screen to the computer and browser.

One company, BlueStacks, is trying to do even more. The company’s plan is to let most Android apps run on Windows. The company has reached a milestone, as its software has reached the beta-testing phase.

There are a bunch of improvements from the prior test version, including the ability to run more Android apps, including some like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja that have been written with code that talks directly to an ARM processor.

Also new are the ability to more easily synchronize apps with an Android device, as well as in-app integration with app stores, including those from Amazon and GetJar. A “popular downloads” section in BlueStacks also makes it easy to grab the most popular apps.

BlueStacks recommends that people run Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, though it should also run on the beta of Windows 8. The company promised that it will be fully ready when the final version of Windows 8 comes out later this year.

A number of Android Apps come preloaded with the BlueStacks beta, including Evernote, Pulse, Nook and Documents To Go.

Indeed, BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma said that the code itself is in pretty good shape. What still needs work, he said, is the company’s business model.

BlueStacks is still trying to figure out whether — and how much — to charge consumers for the software, versus the amount it might be able to get through touting promoted apps. One of the features in the beta is the ability to download recommended apps with a single click.

“That has begun to influence our thinking a lot in terms of how we monetize,” Sharma said. “Maybe our opportunity is to own the right column for the apps.”

To fund its efforts, BlueStacks announced last year that it has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding from investors from Ignition Ventures, Radar Partners, Helion Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik