One of the prevalent joys of the Android mobile operating system is just how flexible it is, a fact made evident by both the huge number of devices it’s deployed on, and the immense ease by which people can access it on their desktop or laptop computers through emulation. Bluestacks has practically become the torch-bearer for Android emulation success, and Appamatix is here with a guide that will show you how to download and install it for Windows 10. Rather than simply providing a nifty mobile interface, downloading Bluestacks will open up a rich world of social media, communications, productivity, and gaming potential that’s typically only available on smartphones and tablets.
Emulation is a tricky subject to approach, and it exists in a much more varied way than many people actually know. The process itself is actually quite simple to describe; computer emulation involves allocating a certain portion of your computer’s resources, which are then “tricked” into behaving like an entirely different operating system or platform. Following the same method that many people emulate the Android OS with popular software, they also emulate game consoles, and occasionally, entirely different computer operating systems. If you’ve ever heard of Bootcamp, the software that allows you to run a partition of Windows on Mac computers, then you’re already familiar with the emulation process.
Legality is most users’ primary concern when it comes to emulation, and many often wonder if there’s something illicit or illegal in what they’re doing. The simple answer is that it’s perfectly legal, but there’s a complexity to it that’s worth explaining before we start digging into Bluestacks. The basic rule that you can follow is this: as long as you can legitimately access the software that you’re running through the emulator (in this case, Android apps), then the legality isn’t a concern.
In Bluestacks (and other Android emulators), we’ll be running a legitimate instance of the Android OS, but more importantly, you’ll be accessing all of your apps right through the Google Play store, with your usual Google account. Consider this a safety net that protects you from bad experiences with Android apps.
That Google account, however, is very important. If you already own an Android mobile device, then you can use the same Google account in Bluestacks as you do on your usual device. If you don’t have one, and moreover, if you haven’t created an account yet, then head on over to Gmail and get yourself a registered Google email address. This will suffice in a pinch.
As you might expect from free software, getting Bluestacks downloaded and ready on your Windows PC is a remarkably simple process, and you’ll have it done in a few clicks. Unlike a vast majority of its competition, Bluestacks is an emulator that’s heavily marketed towards Android gamers, which you’ll likely notice as soon as you load up the Bluestacks website. It’s hardly minimalistic in its presentation and makes an ample display of the thousands of apps that you’re going to have access to through the Android marketplace.
Regardless of the blatant advertising, however, Bluestacks excels at emulating any Android application, not just games. If you’re a productivity or messaging nut, you’re going to have a great time with Bluestacks.
Downloading and Installing
The actual download and installation process, as promised, is remarkably simple. The basic system requirements are easily met by any laptop or desktop computer released in the last five years. Make sure that you reach the following minimum requirements before proceeding.
- 2 GB of RAM
- 4 GB of available hard disk space
- Up-to-date graphics drivers
- The most recent update package from Windows 10
The only requirement that’s marginally adjustable is the 4GB of available hard disk space since this is mostly reserved for the potentially large number of Android apps that you can install with Bluestacks. You’ll be running them through your emulator, but both the apps and the emulation software will need to be installed on your computer.
Simply click on the big, blue “Download” button on the Bluestacks web page and follow the prompted download and installation instructions. The emulator should be installed in the same location as the rest of your computer’s software; it doesn’t require any special treatment!
After you’ve installed Bluestacks on your computer, simply open it up to continue onward with our process.
Google Play Store
As stated before, you’ll need a Google account and a Google email address before you proceed with an Android emulator, just like you would with any mobile device that’s running Android OS. This is an extra step to complete, but while you’re at it, you might as well create an email address that you can use going forward. Heck, why not give a couple of Google’s other top services a try? Google Plus is still a fantastic networking tool, and Google Photos is poised to become the dominant media management service online (even surpassing Apple’s Photos, as far as I’m concerned!)
If you already have a Google account, then you can proceed straight to the Google Play store from within Bluestacks. If you’ve never used the Google Play app store, before, then you’re in for a treat. It’s one of the most user-friendly app marketplaces online, and will only require a few simple searches for familiar Android app titles to get you started. Here are a few ideas, right off the top of my head:
- Clash of Clans
- Candy Crush Saga
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- Kik Messenger
- Game of War
The list could go on, but it’s better that you explore Bluestacks’ offerings for yourself. The Google Play store is organized exactly as you’d find it on a mobile Android device, thanks to the fact that Bluestacks stays swiftly up-to-date with the most recent release of Google’s mobile operating system.
Install apps. Run multiple apps at once thanks to Bluestacks’ tabbed multitasking system, and have fun!
One of the few drawbacks that I’ve found in the Bluestacks emulator is the sponsoring through third-party advertising software. If this bugs you as much as it does me, then you’ll be happy to know that “Bluestacks Premium” will allow you to opt out of all advertising, for only $2 per month. That’s a total of $24 per year for an ad-free Bluestacks experience, which is more than worth its value to get rid of those pesky ads.
Of course, you may find that Bluestacks really isn’t up your alley after all. Rest assured that numerous other emulations software kits are available online, with each offering its own aesthetic and design. Check out some of the features available in these two, if you’re looking for alternatives to Bluestacks.
Most who know me realize that Andyroid is my go-to emulator of choice for all things Android, even surpassing Bluestacks. I enjoy Andy’s minimalist aesthetic and ease of use, and also appreciate that it’s so accessible on both the Mac and Windows platforms.
Downloading and installing Andy is just as simple as Bluestacks, and it even comes with the “Handy Andy” toolbar setting that will allow you to manage Andyroid settings outside of the emulator itself. Andy is also free software, meaning that it’s just as accessible as Bluestacks in terms of price.
If you’re averse to installing third-party software on your computer, Manymo might be worth your time. It’s a browser-based emulator that’s capable of emulating at any number of different resolutions, frequently used by actual Android mobile devices.
The only catch to using Manymo is that you’ll probably need to sign up for the premium subscription if you want to use it regularly. While the free version does allow you ten limited-duration uses per month, you’ll probably find that they get used up very quickly over the course of 30 days. If you’re willing to pay $9 per month, however, you’ll greatly expand Manymo’s usability, and will have a browser-based emulator that can be used from any computer that you’d like–no installation required!
Even though these alternatives are good, however, I’d almost be willing to put money on the fact that you’ll be satisfied with the Bluestacks experience. While most Android device owners have become accustomed to performing their every task on the limited real-estate of a smartphone or tablet screen, you’ll soon realize just how liberating it can be to move all of that productivity and entertainment onto the comfortable, roomy space of your desktop or laptop computer screen. Add in the extra functionality that comes with the added processing power of a computer when compared to your average Android device, and you’ll be set up for a stellar app experience.
The above guide should have everything you need to get started with Bluestacks, but just like any other software, it’s important to keep it up to date! Install Bluestacks updates regularly, and you’ll always have access to the newest and best release of the Android OS. In the meanwhile, happy downloading, and enjoy Bluestacks on Windows 10! Be sure to leave any questions and comments below!