There are many different reasons why people would want to run Android on PC. Gaming on a tiny smartphone screen is fine for half an hour, but things start to get uncomfortable after a while. Plus, some games just need a mouse or controller for the full experience. Then again, other people want to test out their app before going live and need a PC for that.
Thankfully, there are also many ways to get Android running on a PC. Below is a list of the best apps and tools that will get that done, each with their own benefits and downsides.
First, a Word on Safety
Running an Android OS on a computer comes with an amount of risk. Mobile apps are hot targets for hackers and malware. Those used on Android more so thanks to its popularity and widespread use.
The threat isn’t dying down soon, with new malware discovered every day, even on trusted app stores like the Google Play Store. Even so, any reasonable person would think they’ll know if their device has been hacked. But the reality is, most people don’t realize when their PC has malware installed. The signs are often too subtle, and hackers have become wily enough to know how to cover their tracks well.
Problems arise when people connect their infected phones to their computers or install Android software. Just like with an infected USB drive, it would be easy for concealed malware to hop on over to the PC, which would turn an already bad situation into a potential disaster.
People should take care to protect their devices through strong passwords and firewalls. The basic stuff like installing anti-virus software also applies. However, those who are serious about their online safety should look into getting a VPN as well (for example this one). Just make sure to stay away from free VPN services as these aren’t exactly trustworthy.
The 3 Best Ways to Run Android on PC
Virtual desktop tools provide various ways for people to use the Android platform on a PC. Some focus mainly on gaming, while others let individuals or companies run the entire Android OS on a PC. Here are three individual tools that each cater to a different type of need.
Google Android Virtual Device Manager
Anyone who’s looking for an Android virtual device emulator that represents the original Android ecosystem as closely as possible has just found it. This is the native Android to PC OS integration emulator created by Google themselves. So this is a great option for developers because they know they’re getting official support from Android’s creator.
This emulator is dependable, supports Intel’s Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM), and is free to boot. To put it plainly, the AVD Manager only has two real downsides:
- Getting the Google Play Store to work requires tweaking the settings a bit as it doesn’t come pre-installed with straightforward access.
- It’s a bit slower than a few other popular Android virtual device emulators out there.
This emulator was designed with personal individual use in mind. It’s mainly geared toward gaming and does an excellent job of integrating Android games with PC inputs. Both the keyboard and mouse input and controller input are seamlessly adopted into any game via MEmu.
Additional features include:
- A forced minimum window size which prevents game windows from becoming small and illegible.
- The ability to run multiple versions of Android at the same time, so more than one game can be played simultaneously. This is great for people who want to play the same game together on the same computer.
Older Android virtual desktop emulators like BlueStacks might have a recognizable brand, but newer software like Bliss OS is quickly taking over. Thanks, in part, to its incredible ability to support true multitasking.
Bliss OS began its life as open-platform software and has since evolved into one of the greatest Android-based operating systems out there. Bliss OS is known for having a very stable platform with a smooth UI and added security features. On top of that, the OS offers plenty of customization and has been designed to support dual-booting.
This is a great option for someone who wants a fully-fledged Android operating system on their PC or Android device. It provides the ultimate level of control over an OS and its various features.
No matter a person’s motivation with regards to running Android on a PC, there’s a platform for them out there. The three options listed here are but a drop in the bucket. However, they provide worthwhile insight into the diverging features that Android-on-PC applications can have. Each caters to their own niche. It’s up to the user to decide what their needs are and find the software that suits them.