|Android Apps integrate into the Modern Start screen.|
While the Microsoft store has been slowly getting more apps geared towards touch devices, there are still many notable apps missing such as HBO GO, or Showtime Anytime, Temple Run, Instagram, etc. Some times there are third party replacements, and some times there are not. The good news is that you may not have to wait to use your favorite app on Windows 8.x. There is a program by the name of Bluestacks that will allow you to run Android apps in Windows as close to natively as possible. Think of it as a reverse WINE program.
To install it, just go to the Bluestacks website, download the installer, run the installer, and get going. For the most part, the program does a great job walking you through the various steps to log in. Once your Google account is associated with it, you have access to the Play Store and Amazon app store. Yes, I chose to ignore Bluestacks own store because I see no use for it. From there you can download your purchased apps and try them out on Windows.
The good news. You can start an installed app by clicking on its icon in Windows as if it were a normal program.
The bad news. Many of the apps are slow and/or glitchy depending on your hardware. Considering that this program is still in beta status, don't hold it against them, and just enjoy it while it is still free.
On my Sony Vaio i7 desktop, most apps run at native speed or close. On the atom based Dell Venue 8 Pro, it's best to stick to social networking and simple games for the best results. Those apps won't be as buttery smooth as say, the Nexus 7, but they will be usable. The touch screen controls should also work for you as expected.
Too add some insult to injury for you Dell Venue Pro 8 owners, while Bluestacks will install and run on your tablet, it will run in the wrong screen orientation most of the time. Luckily, there is a fairly simple registry workaround to fix that.
To get the the registy, simply right click on your Windows start menu button ,select "Run", and type in "regedit."
Once in the registry, open the following folders shown in the above screen shot. From HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and all the way down to 0. Once in that "folder", you will see "Height" and "Width" values. Click on Height, select "Decimal" and change the value to 1280. Follow up with "Width" and change it to "800"
If you wish, you can also get a small performance boost by clicking on the "Android" folder that is four rows up from "0" and change the "memory" value (again, under decimal) to 1024.
If you are running Windows defender in the background, you can also gain a speed increase by excluding the Bluestacks process from being scanned by it. Check the above screenshot for details.
|Instagram running in full screen mode on Windows 8.1 - Dell Venue Pro 8|
As stated earlier, your mileage may vary depending on the app and the hardware that you are running on, but having the option is priceless. Good luck, and enjoy your devices out there. Whatever your preferences may be.
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