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android emulator for pcInterested in Android? You don’t have to buy a device or go to a physical electronics store (do those still exist?) to try it out. You can run individual Android apps and play with the latest versions of the Android operating system on Windows. These are Android emulators for PCs.

Whether you want to try Android before you buy, experiment with the latest version of Android or sync apps between your Android device and your PC, these Windows programs have you covered.

BlueStacks

BlueStacks doesn’t replicate the full Android experience, it’s just an “app player” that runs individual apps on your PC. BlueStacks starts in full-screen mode, but can also be used in windowed mode.

Install BlueStacks, search for an Android app, and you’ll be able to install it on your PC.

You’ll have to set up a Google account to download apps via Google Play, but you can always make a new Google account just for this purpose. BlueStacks also supports other app stores, including the Amazon Appstore for Android. Its built-in search feature searches for apps across all the app stores it supports.

android emulator for pc

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If you have a Windows 8 touch PC, you can interact with Android apps like Modern apps and use BlueStacks to play Android games on Windows 8. Many apps use a swipe action — to perform a swipe, click and hold the mouse button down, move the mouse cursor, and then release.

android emulator

BlueStacks also works with your Android phone or tablet if you already have one. You can install the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app, available in the Google Play, to synchronize apps between your device and your PC.

YouWave or VirtualBox

YouWave provides a free ten-day trial, which is more than enough time to get a feel for Android apps. Unlike BlueStacks, YouWave offers a full Android system with a home screen, app menu, and everything else.

This program depends on its own instance of VirtualBox, so you can’t use it if you have VirtualBox installed — you’ll have to uninstall VirtualBox first.

If you’d rather install Android in VirtualBox 5 Creative Uses For A Virtual Box That You Probably Never Considered 5 Creative Uses For A Virtual Box That You Probably Never Considered Try out Android, Windows 8, any live CD and more, on your computer without messing up your bootloader (or worse.) With VirtualBox it's easy, if you think creatively. VirtualBox gives you an easy way to... Read More on your own, you can find instructions for doing so on the Android x86 page. It’s a bit more work, but it’s completely free with no time limits.

android emulator

YouWave doesn’t include many apps, but you can install Google Play inside it to get more apps. Click the View menu, select Online Content, and click the Google Play icon to download it. Click the View menu again, select Apps, and click the Google Play app — Google Play will be installed.

android emulator

You can launch Google Play within the Android emulator to browse and install Android apps. You’ll need a Google account, but you can always create a new one specifically for YouWave.

android emulator windows

Official Android Emulator

Google’s Android software development kit provides a free Android emulator, although it’s targeted at developers. You can run the latest version of Android with this method, so it’s a great way to try out the latest version of Android if you have a device that’s stuck on an older version.

First, you’ll need Java installed. You can then download the SDK Tools from Google. Click the Use an Existing IDE option on the page and download the SDK Tools package. After installing it, launch the SDK Manager and install the recommended files for the latest version of Android. Click the Install button and the SDK manager will automatically download and install the required software.

android emulator windows

Click the Tools menu once the download has finished, select Manage AVDs and click the New button to create a new virtual device. Select a device — an older device like the Nexus S should be easier to emulate – and your installed version of Android. Name the virtual device and click OK to create it.

android emulator windows

You’ll see your new virtual device in the virtual device manager window. Select it, click the Start button and click Launch to launch the Android emulator. It may take a while to start — perhaps over a minute, depending on your hardware.

android emulator for pc

Google’s Android emulator for PC definitely doesn’t perform as well as BlueStacks or YouWave. It also doesn’t have Google Play or any other app store integrated, but you can download app files in APK form and install them How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android How to Manually Install or Side Load Apps on Android Sideloading a file onto your Android device is easy, and we can show you how to do it. Read More .

Conclusion

Android’s openness allows developers to create applications like these, which is awesome — no similar solutions are available if you want to try out iPhone or iPod apps on Windows. Still, there are some limitations — performance isn’t as good as it is on real hardware, for one.

Remember that Android wasn’t designed for the mouse. Android devices support mice and keyboards How To Connect a USB Keyboard To Your Android Phone How To Connect a USB Keyboard To Your Android Phone While I’m a big fan of Swype, SlideIT, and other advanced keyboards for Android, there’s something to be said about a keyboard with keys on it. I mean the physical-type keyboards – you know, the... Read More , but they’re really designed for touch. It’s like using Modern Windows 8 apps What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8? What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8? Read More with a mouse — Microsoft has said they’re “touch first” and they certainly feel like it.

However, you may even be able to install Android on an old netbook you have lying around How to Install Android on Your Netbook or Laptop How to Install Android on Your Netbook or Laptop Now you can install Android on your netbook or laptop with this simple and easy guide. Read More — it’s worth a try if you aren’t getting much use out of that netbook anyway.

Have you tried running Android emulators for your PC? Which app worked best for you? Leave a comment and let us know!

  1. Nick Ulloa Gadea
    June 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I think the better option is Andy OS

  2. Petra Mubata
    June 11, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    i prefer the last one because bluestacks does not work on my ccomputer

  3. 275f1c94ca7083d479b88405d14a6a38
    July 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thats a great list...i will be testing android apps before installing on phone...their are plenty of useless apps which i will separate by using on fast pc connection first

  4. NSDCars5
    June 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hey, can YouWave install APKs?

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      I didn't try this, but it's possible -- looks like it's easier with BlueStacks, though. They've updated BlueStacks a lot since I wrote this post -- it looks like the best option these days.

      • 275f1c94ca7083d479b88405d14a6a38
        July 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        Hey my name aint appearing with comments....only the avatar and a number or id sort of thing....help me with that

        • Tina
          July 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

          I've put James, our web developer, on the case.

      • 275f1c94ca7083d479b88405d14a6a38
        July 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

        i signed in using openid...with blogger .. help soon

  5. Atif Anis
    May 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Are these Android Application available for Window XP

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 29, 2012 at 3:32 am

      I didn't test them on Windows XP, but I believe they should work -- give 'em a try!

    • Arjun
      July 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      All these work on Windows XP. But BlueStacks need Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 or later.

      • Chris Hoffman
        July 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        Good point, thanks! It's included on later versions of Windows, so I didn't even consider that.

    • Jemy Fra
      October 17, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      bluestack & android sdk yes if you've got enough RAM

  6. asdf
    March 27, 2012 at 4:55 am

    thanks!

  7. Neetu
    March 22, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Try: Place the address in laluamny. Still might not let you DL unfortunately.Gtunes comes and goes. Just keep looking for it it'll vanish from the market then come back again a few days later.

  8. Aibek
    January 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I am not seeing the link between the comment and the article here.

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