The Android operating system is undoubtedly the largest and most successful operating system for mobile devices. Pick any smartphone at random and chances are good it will run Android.
This also means that many applications are exclusive to this operating system and that it is a hot development platform.
However, a real phone isn’t always the best place to work. Some instant messaging applications are more convenient to use on a computer keyboard than to press on the screen. There might also be an Android game that you really want to play, but your phone just isn’t right for it.
Whatever the reason, there are plenty of great Android emulators out there that let you do some pretty cool stuff using the Android virtual machine on your desktop.
The three emulators we highlight here are arguably the most popular, but also the most advanced. They are free and easy to use. This way, you are just a few clicks away from launching an Android instance on your desktop.
BlueStacks app launcher
Bluestacks (company) has been around since 2009 and has become one of the largest manufacturers of Android emulation for desktop PCs. This is probably the first software that comes to mind when most people think of running Android on a desktop computer.
This is not an undeserved position either. Bluestacks App Player is a mature program with excellent performance. In fact, according to tests for the latest version of Bluestacks, it is six times faster than even the fastest smartphone you can buy. This makes it a great choice for action-packed Android games.
However, the player is not optimized to work with software, although messengers and other similar lightweight applications are not a problem. The main disadvantage of the software is that it uses ads and affiliate content to fund it.
If you can ignore the few ad pop-up ads, then this is one of the best Android gaming app players available today.
You can get Bluestacks App Player at www.bluestacks.com
Bluestacks has some serious competition with Nox Player. The biggest advantage of Nox is that there are no ads and it is virtually free. It’s also a much more customizable and flexible application player, but of course it comes at a price for its simplicity.
Like Bluestacks, Nox is aimed at people who want to play Android games on their computers. This allows you to fine tune the performance of the emulators so you can get high frame rates when needed and leave room on your computer to run other applications if needed.
Since both of these options are free to download and use, it’s easy to compare the performance and settings of both players for yourself.
You can get the Nox Player at https://www.bignox.com/
Android development environment
While Nox Player and Bluestacks App Player are shamelessly targeting people looking to play Android games on PC, Android Studio is a business. This is the main official development tool approved by Google for people who want to build Android apps.
Well, to be honest, calling it an Android emulator is not entirely correct. Instead, this integrated development tool contains a sophisticated emulator built specifically for testing the application you are creating.
The goal of the Android Studio emulator is not just to run Android apps. It really is an imitation of various real Android devices in the wild. So that you, as a developer, don’t have to buy a wheelbarrow full of expensive phones to make sure your application will work on them.
Obviously, Android Studio isn’t aimed at the general public, but if you’ve dreamed of building and selling your own app for the world’s largest mobile platform, there is no other game in town.
You can get Android Studio at https://developer.android.com/studio/
We’ve come a long way since the introduction of Android emulation. From software that was buggy and slow, to features that surpass any Android phone in many ways.
Whether you are an avid mobile gamer looking for an edge or a budding software developer looking to get big, there is an emulator that will give you exactly what you are looking for.
These top three titles are literally just the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy!