Want to run the latest apps but aren't interested in the whole mobile thing? BlueStacks has you covered. The software which allows Android apps to run seamlessly on Windows machines has recently entered private beta stage, and boasts the ability to run Android apps full screen and with GPU acceleration.
The latest build can execute apps compiled for ARM processors (via the Android NDK), emulate sensors such as the accelerometer, and can even recognise track pad gestures like pinch to zoom. The technology responsible for all this functionality is called LayerCake, an impressive abstraction layer which AMD's Manju Hegde describes as "...a disruptive technology that enables PC manufacturers to bring the best of the Android ecosystem to their customers."
BlueStacks comes with pre-bundled 'featured' apps such as Evernote, but can also download apps from Google's new Play Store. This means you can play the newly released Angry Birds Space without paying a single cent, or perhaps run from ancient curses in the well received game Temple Run. It's also a good way to try out the Android platform before deciding to purchase expensive hardware.
If you're already in the Android ecosystem, BlueStacks has some nifty synchronisation features that you can leverage. Apps, photos and even SMS messages can be synced between your phone and PC via the BlueStacks CloudConnect software on the Play Store.
Existing methods of running Android apps on Windows machines include the official Android emulator (as part of the Android SDK), or virtual machines with an x86 copy of Android. The former is quite slow, and the latter is inconvenient and lacks proper GPU/sensor support.
Sign-ups are currently open for the beta of BlueStacks. Check out the software in action in the video below.