Previously we have seen Android apps running on Windows systems via the Bluestacks App Player. That solution created an environment on your computer that allowed you to run Android apps through an emulation layer. Now there’s a new solution called WindowsAndroid which runs a port of Android natively on the Windows kernel (Windows Vista or newer) instead of Linux.
WindowsAndroid has been developed by a company called SocketeQ, a Bejing based start-up which has been “working on the project for years,” reports TNW. The WindowsAndroid program gives you a complete Android system on your desktop. To download the program head to the SocketeQ website (currently down probably to bandwidth issues, but there are download mirrors available) and grab the 64MB installer, when installed it will take up about 300MB of space on your drive.
The current version of WindowsAndroid is based upon Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. If you don’t have a touch-enabled PC you can use the mouse and keyboard to get around the Android OS. Depending on the size of the Android windows on your desktop (or you can use it full-screen) the system automatically chooses Android’s tablet or smartphone UI.
Android Central made a video of their experiences poking around on WindowsAndroid.
The developers at SocketeQ told TNW that WindowsAndroid “is still in early development status”. There is no Google Play store as yet but apps can be side-loaded by placing APK files in the windowsandroid_root\data\app directory and then restarting the WindowsAndroid program. You should expect the occasional crash, for instance the Android Central guys experienced a crash every time they tried to access the Android camera functionality. Looking at the demonstration video above however, the whole application experience looks very impressive.