BlueStacks App Player hits beta, supports ARM-written Android apps on x86-based Windows (video)

We've been eagerly anticipating the full-on release of BlueStacks' App Player, so imagine our excitement now that the software has officially made the leap from its brief alpha stage to "beta-1" status. If you'll recall, the App Player can virtually run over 450k Android apps on Windows XP, Vista and 7, all without developers needing to tweak their respective coding. Notably, this latest build has a host of updates including LayerCake, allowing x86-based machines to run apps written for ARM -- and with hardware graphics acceleration, no less. Other notable goodies from the beta build include official localization in 10 countries, mock accelerometer support (arrow keys), an updated UI and Direct AppStore Access. If the mere thought of running Android Angry Birds on Windows has your interests piqued, you'll find further details about BlueStacks in the full press release and video overview past the break.

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BlueStacks Brings 450,000 Android Apps to a Billion PCs

After 3-month alpha test attracts a million users and a Best of CES award, company releases beta-1 version of "App Player"

CAMPBELL, Calif. - March 26, 2012 – BlueStacks announced the availability of the beta-1 version of their App Player for PC today. The software supports Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, and enables Android apps to run in windowed or fullscreen mode on PC.

The beta-1 version now incorporates the company's patent-pending LayercakeTM technology. LayerCakeTM enables apps written for ARM processors like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to run seamlessly on x86-based PCs. It also enables hardware graphics acceleration. These capabilities were not part of last year's alpha version. Apps designed for high-end tablets that use graphics-intensive engines such as Unity can also run on the platform.

"LayerCake is a disruptive technology that enables PC manufacturers to bring the best of the Android ecosystem to their customers. It also leverages the advanced graphics capabilities of AMD APU and GPU platforms," said Manju Hegde, corporate vice president, Content, Applications and Solutions at AMD (NYSE: AMD). We are excited to work with BlueStacks to make the emerging Android mobile apps market part of the broader computing arena, especially given that the beta-1 version has been localized for 10 different countries."

The alpha test of BlueStacks ran from October through December of last year, and included a more limited app selection. In those three months, it attracted over a million users in more than 100 countries such as the US, Korea, Brazil, Germany and China. Over 4.5 Million apps were opened. Especially popular were apps like Kakao Talk in Korea, Wordfeud in Germany and WhatsApp in the US. "You know, first there was Angry Birds on Chrome which was a big deal, then recently Steve Ballmer stood up at CES and announced that Cut the Rope had been ported to IE9 – with BlueStacks, it's 450,000 apps coming to Windows at once," said BlueStacks CEO, Rosen Sharma.

The developers behind top apps like Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Townsmen, Evernote, Defender and StumbleUpon have partnered with BlueStacks to have their apps pre-loaded in the beta-1 version. "A Billion PCs is a huge potential market for any developer. There is the potential to make good money from the additional app discovery and usage," said Markus Kassulke, CEO of popular developer HandyGames. "The best part is, we don't have to do any work. Our apps run without any modifications or porting."