BlueStacks, the startup known for bringing Android applications to desktop PCs, is today releasing its App Player for Mac into beta, following its previous Mac alpha release in June. At the time of the original Mac launch, the selection of apps was limited – there were only a handful of apps available like Fruit Ninja and Pulse, for example. But with today’s beta release, the company is now offering access to 750,000+ Android apps on the Mac.
The company worked with app developer partners like HalfBrick, Pulse and Handygames in the past, and will continue to do so on the Mac beta, but it can now also run any other off-the-shelf Android application as well, thanks to its patent-pending “Layercake” technology.
In the months prior, BlueStacks had been working to expand its install base, forming partnerships with chipmakers like AMD (also an investor) and Asus, the former which will see its software pre-installed on over 100 million units, the company announced earlier this month, and the latter which will offer 22 million pre-installs. The startup also noted earlier in December that it has passed 5 million organic installs of its software across the Windows and Mac platforms. Today, that number has grown to 5.3 million. And while BlueStacks is debating whether to confirm the number of active users, we’re told that the number is “very healthy.”
Until now, BlueStacks was very much targeted towards the PC crowd, not just because of the potential for pre-installation partnerships like those above, but also because mobile app developers looking to reach the Mac install base are likely to just build both an OS X and iOS app for their users.
But that’s not always the case – some mobile developers (whether mobile-first or mobile-only) are late to address the desktop market entirely. As BlueStacks VP of Business Development John Gargiulo pointed out to me, for example, the Mac beta release means that Mac users can run Flipboard on the desktop for the first time ever.
For developers, BlueStacks is also hoping that the Mac launch will help make going “Android-first” more attractive, Gargiulo explains.
“We look at it from the POV of our mobile developer partners – they start out by deciding, what mobile platform do we build for first? What’s going to get the most distribution? Now with BlueStacks, building for Android first means they’ll get on all PCs and Mac,” he says. There are many ways to monetize the Mac distribution, too, in addition to the in-app purchases developers can offer (without sharing a cut with Apple). BlueStacks will announce its further monetization plans in Q2 2013.
The beta has no exact end date at this time. It will run as long as it takes, Gargiulo tells me. Going forward, the company is now working to add a new proprietary App Discovery system in the Mac App Player, which will allow users to find the apps they like more easily. That’s definitely an interesting feature idea. App discovery today is broken, and if BlueStacks is planning to participate in this space, it may be one of the few companies – outside of Google, Apple, Amazon and other app store makers – which will have enough data, thanks to its pre-installs, to help it better its app suggestions for users.
The new Mac Player is available now from the BlueStacks homepage here.