Top Android Emulators

Running Android on Your Windows PC and Mac

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Google Play is the richest of all app repositories on the mobile market, which has largely contributed to the popularity of the Android platform. Some apps are so good that some keep feeling sorry for not being able to run them on their computers. For instance, VoIP apps are so helpful for cheap or free communication, but you want to be present and available anytime, even when away from your mobile device. Android emulators help you in mimicking the behavior of an Android device on your computer. This allows you to install and run Android app on your computer. Here is a list of some of the best emulators.  

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BlueStacks is one of the most popular emulators on the market. It is free, and also has a sibling app for playing Android games on TV sets. Versions of the app exist for both Windows and Mac. It is easy to download and install and easy to find your way through and use the app. However, it does lack in many ways. The interface is not the nice genuine Android UI you normally have on your mobile device. It also does not allow you to access your computer’s file system. There are some other interface and performance issues, but overall it is a good emulator that allows many people to run Android apps easily on their computers. 

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YouWave has been one of the most popular emulators around but it seems to have been surpassed now. It remains a good alternative to others in that it is light and easy to install and use. However, it lacks some features of others. It is still stuck with Android ICS. Note that it is not free and sells at $20, but you can download and use a trial version for 10 days. 

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Jar of Beans

 As the name implies, this is an implementation of the early Jelly Bean version 4.1 of Android. What is interesting with Jar of Beans emulator is that it is portable. It is free and quite easy to install and use. It is only available for Windows machines. You don’t download files from Google Play to install apps, but have to download .apk (Android app installation files) files to your computer and use the emulator to install and use them. 

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Native Android Emulator

Did you know that Android itself has an official native emulator for Windows? It comes with the Android development kit. This is best used by developers who use the emulator to test and debug their Android apps during development. It also has a set of pre-installed app such as the phone dialer and messaging app. While this is quite stable and better built, it is more for geeks than the ordinary Android user. It comes with full documentation since it is supported by Google itself. 

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This is a superb tool, especially for developers and geeks, and also the curious, who want to have a feel of different operating systems. VirtualBox not only emulates Android, but any operating system you want to install. It is a platform for the installation and running of another operating system on your Windows or Mac computer. You can run Solaris, Android, Linux and others. It does not have that many features but is still a nice tool. Once you install it, download the Android file and install. 

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GenyMotion is specially for developers who want to test their apps and make demos and stuff. This emulator is powerful and gives the user full control over the virtual devices’ elements like battery power, file system etc. It is robust and performing. Genymotion is free only for non-commercial use and for a restricted number of features. It comes with the latest version of Android and does some clean work. 

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Windroy is a mixture of BlueStacks and YouWave. It is free and now runs Android version 4.0.3. It is not very simple to install and use, and apps have to be installed manually. 

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 DuOS-M is available only for Windows and is free only for the first month. Then it costs $10. It is quite powerful and crisp with good performance and good display. Installation is rather easy.

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Manymo runs the Android emulator in your browser. You can check an interactive demo with DropBox right on the home page of the site. There is some lag, which is quite normal for online activity. But emulating Android on a browser is quite powerful in terms of accessibility. It is not free, starting at $10 a month for 100 emulator launches.