This is really an update of an old thread I started here
For anyone who has not tried Bluestacks, it's an Android app player. It actually creates a pretty complete Android experience in a window on your PC desktop. You can find some basic information that is still relevant in the referenced discussion above.
To put a wrap on that old thread, after messing with the original Bluestacks for awhile I eventually discovered that there were enough incompatibilities and quirks that it had become more annoying than interesting or useful. There were no apparent plans for an upgrade any time soon and even some question whether they could figure out how to make money out of it and stay around for the longer haul. So I uninstalled it and forgot about it.
Today I stumbled across news that there is a new version. It's a major upgrade and the initial reviews are pretty good. I've downloaded and installed it and have been playing with it for the past hour or so. The news is good!!
For reference, the new version is installed and running on the same computer I was using for the old one. It's a homebuilt computer with an Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz CPU with 4GB of RAM and ATI Radeon 4800 series video card. It's running Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate SP1.
For your own comparison, this computer has a Windows Experience Index of 7.1. The slowest items are the Processor and RAM. It's getting pretty old but it's still fast enough for anything I do with it. I have no idea how it compares to anything with newer technology.
There are many differences from the original version of Bluestacks. First, the performance is hugely improved. There is simply no delay at all. Apps launch and run exactly as I am used to Windows apps running on here.
Second, you can now find the preinstalled apps more easily. The first row ("Recently Played") in the default Game-Pop launch screen has a circled plus sign at the right end of the row with the label "All Apps" under it. Poking the plus sign will get you to the All Apps drawer.
I've installed the Nova launcher and set it as my default. So far the only thing I've changed from its default behaviour is the number of icons in the dock and the number of icons on the grid of the home pages.
This version of Bluestacks operates very much like a browser. When you launch an app, a new tab is opened at the top of the window and the app takes up the entire window. You can switch between apps and the home/launcher screen by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of the screen. Just like a browser.
This time around I'm taking a different approach. Since the last time I used it I've been exposed to Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 on a desktop system and a tablet (Microsoft Surface Pro). I've also been using my Android phone and tablet for many more months. So now I know what I want my user experience to be.
I want a Windows 7 desktop with access to the Android apps that I'm used to, and addicted to, on my tablet and phone. For me this is the perfect system.
Time to take a break now. If anyone is interested I'll post some more as I experience more use of the latest version and see how my favorite/indispensable Android apps work in this new version of Bluestacks.