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Run Android apps on Windows 8 PCs and Surface Pro tablets with BlueStacks

BlueStacks emulator

Worry no more that making the switch to Windows 8 will keep you from playing Angry Birds Star Wars on your computer or tablet – as long as you have the BlueStacks App Player installed.

BlueStacks is an emulator that runs Android apps on PCs and Macs within a window instead of requiring that you to install and boot the mobile operating system on your computer, making it an elegant way to bring your favorite mobile apps to your desktop. In fact, the company also offers a way to sync the mobile apps on your Android smartphone to your computer, so you don’t have to pay twice to install the same app on multiple platforms.

Today, BlueStacks is releasing the App Player for Surface Pro (beta). Optimized for the device’s 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display, BlueStacks will also work on any Windows 8 tablet or computer – just not Windows RT.

According to TechCrunch, this latest version of the emulator now launches from a tile on the Windows 8 Home screen, and runs apps in full screen mode so they at least look like they were natively developed for the OS. While in full screen mode, the App Player makes the Android apps easy to navigate by running a “Charms Menu” that brings familiar Android controls like the “Back” and “Settings” buttons to the right side of the screen.

Considering that BlueStacks makes it possible to run over 750,000 Android apps on Windows 8 machines, this emulator is a significant boost to Microsoft’s meager app offerings, which, according to MetroStore Scanner, has just over 42,000 apps worldwide as of today. And the crop of apps developed specifically for the U.S. market is an even smaller number. The best part: since the App Player for Surface Pro/Windows 8 is still in beta, you can download it for free by going to GetYourAppsBack.com