On Running 750,000 Android Apps On the Mac

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

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.

So…what’s the point? I’m not being snarky; I’d really like to understand the appeal of this.

Android users point to their platform’s market share numbers as proof that they’re “winning” the “war” with iOS and Windows Phone. That’s fine, but I wonder about Android insofar that its appeal seems to be limited to two factors:

  1. Android, as an operating system, is open-source. Highly customizable and shit.
  2. Phones and tablets running Android (Amazon’s included) are less expensive and pushed more by carriers than, say, an iPhone or a Lumia.

But what about the apps? Developers know iOS is the place to be if they want to make money and reach the widest audience, as well as saving themselves from testing against a billion devices and OS versions. Hence, you have apps that launch on iOS first before branching out, like Instapaper, or you have apps that remain exclusive to iOS, like The Magazine. All this said, what are the killer apps for Android? Certainly the majority of the most popular apps on Android also have iOS counterparts, so what’s the allure to Google’s platform other than it being “open” and widely distributed? I ask these questions with no intent of snark or sarcasm; I mean them genuinely and rhetorically. In my view, software-wise, there seems to be nothing worth that gotta-have-it-for-X-app(s) inherent to Android. Rather, it seems like "regular" people (and nerds) are drawn to the platform because a) it’s cheap; and b) because of pseudo-political reasons, rejecting Apple’s walled garden and dictatorial stance on iOS.

(via Marco Arment)