AMD to offer Android emulation on retail products

These are the droids AMD was looking for, apparently…

AMD - logoToday at the ongoing Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain AMD announced that retail customers should begin seeing Bluestacks’ Android emulation software preloaded onto select AMD APU-based systems in the second half of 2014. This marks another turning point in the increasingly complex dance that chip makers and OEMs are to appease customers by offering Android’s app selection without rejecting Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 OS outright. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of a partnership between AMD and Bluestacks which began offering a beta version of this emulation software last year after AMD invested a sum of money into the company back in late 2011.

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The Bluestacks’ software has come along way since we first played with it. It now has a more fluid, although not lag-less, interface and a neat feature that syncs all of the apps from your Google account onto your PC by treating your PC as a second phone. On our AMD APU based test system we noticed that the Bluestacks’ software appeared to be doing some up-scaling to fill out our 1080P monitor which had the adverse effect of producing rather grainy looking apps. The emulated apps are still totally usable, but there is clearly some┬ároom for improvement in Bluestacks’ software.

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Additionally the app choosing UI doesn’t really follow the Google’s Android 4.x UI conventions nor most of Microsoft’s Windows 8.x UI guidelines, rather it occupied an odd middle ground. That said the app does function, and it’s rather straightforward to use, but it just doesn’t feel ready for prime-time.

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Stepping back for a moment it’s interesting to see that AMD is continuing down this path of Android emulation rather than following Intel’s lead by offering reference platforms to OEMs that are designed to run both Windows and Android as a traditional dual-boot system.

Whatever the reason the guys at Bluestacks only have a few months to finish polishing their product before AMD’s bread and butter customers start trying to use it. Why AMD sees emulation as a superior option to dual-boot system isn’t clear at this time, but perhaps Android’s limited support for AMD’s chips has something to do with that.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.