While tech aficionados enjoy debating the benefits and proclaiming their allegiance to one OS or another, the reality is that each has their strengths.
It is all too easy to get bogged down in platform debates—the old Windows versus iOS versus Android story. That conversation misses the point. The real "best" solution is the one that gives users the experience they want. What most people care about is their ability to work, play and communicate across all their devices with the tools they prefer.
When it comes to strengthening the role of our PCs, it is incumbent that manufacturers and vendors ask: what do consumers prefer?
- When it comes to mobile, Android is at the top owning 52.2% of the U.S. market and more than 80% of global mobile phone marketshare.
- On the desktop side of the equation, Windows operating systems dominate the landscape with more than 80% marketshare.
So what to do in a world where more everyday consumers rely on multiple platforms: a Windows PC at home, a second on their desk in the office or one in the laptop bag on their shoulder as they board a plane; an Android phone on the go and maybe a similar Android-based tablet as they sit on the couch.
One obvious solution is to eliminate the gap between Windows and Android—give the people their favorite game app on their desktop right next to Microsoft Office! Not surprisingly, several options that do just that are emerging as PC manufacturers work to extend the Android experience to the PC.
AMD is supporting that effort through its collaboration with BlueStacks, who started by creating a very popular Android app player for Windows. Now, through this collaboration with AMD, they are poised to deliver a completely virtualized Android environment that runs all of the most popular Android entertainment, content consumption and productivity apps right within the Windows desktop.
See below screenshot showing the AMD-Bluestacks solution for AMD-based PCs. Get the full native Android user interface experience - without ever leaving Windows!Let’s take a moment to understand what this means. The AMD-BlueStacks approach is fundamentally different from the old school techie approach of booting two entire operating systems on a device. So-called “dual-booting” is nothing new, but it’s never really become mainstream. There is good reason for that. Dual-booting can be messy and inconvenient. It is resource intensive and requires a whole separate validation process for OEMS who must develop and support two entirely different system infrastructures and must license 2 operating systems instead of one. If you want to dual-boot Android on an x86 system, you need both Windows as well as Android drivers for graphics, media, power management, security and much more. You’ll also be constantly exiting one OS, booting into the other, and back again. And, while the two OS live on the same device, they don’t really share the device. That “My Pictures” folder on your Windows desktop with pictures of Grandma? It may as well be on the other side of the world as far as your Android OS Instagram is concerned.
This is where the strength and elegance of the AMD-BlueStacks virtualized approach becomes obvious. As native software running under Windows on the PC, BlueStacks takes full advantage of AMD APUs, beginning with the 4th generation AMD APU codename “Kaveri” power savings options, OpenGL driver, and every other advantage the AMD APU-based system can offer. There are no extra development challenges in terms of drivers--Bluestacks is built and optimized to run within Windows on AMD APUs.*
For the user, the workflow advantages are enormous. BlueStacks provides a full Android User Interface (UI). The customization, settings and personalization capabilities you expect from your Android phone or tablet are right there in the virtual Android environment.
And that Android UI? It is a fully functional window on your Windows desktop. So, you can have Photoshop open on one side of your desktop and your favorite Android app on the other. About to unlock a Booster? Blow your Android window up to full screen and fill your desktop. BlueStacks takes full advantage of the AMD platform.
See below for demo of BlueStack's virtualized Android, with full native Android user interface experience, to be available and optimized exclusively for AMD:
Games aside, this solution is about more than just sharing desktop real estate. BlueStack’s virtualized Android sees your Windows file system. Remember that picture of Grandma I mentioned before? Under this solution, that photo in your Windows gallery is a click away from Instagram on Android.
Of course this is not the first time someone has virtualized an OS. The difference is that we are taking an incredibly popular environment, Android, that was designed to make use of the capacity of older architectures and instead giving it a direct pipeline to high performance AMD APUs with powerful AMD Radeon™ graphics built-in.
It means that for the PC provider it is business as usual. Spec and build your AMD-based PC as usual. Continue to support Windows as usual. Bluestacks is effectively just another piece of software running on the system. Optimized for AMD APUs, the brilliant BlueStacks architecture bridges the divide between Android and the x86 architecture with the full Android UI experience for AMD-based systems, and requires no additional driver or extension support.
Bluestacks on AMD APUs is an exciting opportunity. You can choose to add complexity to your PC in order to bring Android fun and Windows productivity together. Or we get out of the consumer’s way and empower them to choose the best app or application for their particular need.
Clarice Simmons is a Senior Marketing Manager at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.
*The new BlueStacks App Player version exclusively available for AMD which provides an “Android on Windows” experience with the unique full Android User Interface and is optimized to leverage AMD 4th Generation APUs