It is becoming common to hear security dealers say that their smartphone-using customers wish they could run their applications on their PCs. And it makes sense.
A PC has a larger display than the two-inch display on most phones, eliminating the need to squint at the screen. A PC has more storage available, especially now that PC hard disk prices have hit the floor. PCs can also access data much faster. Now that many power users are adding solid-state disks to their boxes and with multiple cores, PCs now have more computing power (for now) to bring to bear.
Based in Campbell, Calif., two-year-old start-up company BlueStacks.com created a smartphone app that, when installed on a PC, allows users to run any Android app. That means everything from your company’s remote security app to Angry Birds.
Apu Kumar, senior vice-president of Global Sales and Strategic Alliances, said the company lists firms like A&B, Intel and Citrix as its earliest venture capital investors.
A killer app that is kind to users
It is easy to see why. BlueStacks is what the software business calls a killer app. Like so many other mega-hits, its beauty lies in its simplicity. “We take Android apps and run them through a platform that coexists with Windows on your PC,” Kumar said.
It is important to note this program is not an emulator. It is programmed in native Windows code and will not require a virtual machine to run, which means it will not run slower than that dark brown stuff poured on pancakes in January. That alone should endear it to security dealers who are trying to bridge the gap.
Kumar said that when BlueStacks offered a free alpha version of their program that ran on Windows 7 in the Android market in mid-October last year, the app racked up 800,000 downloads in three months.
“We haven’t found a limit to the application’s use,” he said.
That’s not just company hype. When Windows 8 is released to the public, security dealers will find BlueStacks pre-installed on their customers’ computers, which means Windows 8 users will be able to use any and all Google Android apps, placing this operating system on the same competitive footing as Apple’s iOS.
When asked if the company was planning a BlueStacks version for the iPhone, Kumar replied with “no comment.” But it is far from unthinkable for the company, which has 32 employees and has offices in the United States, China, India, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.
What Kumar was willing to talk about was a joint venture between BlueStacks and Citrix to develop an enterprise-level version of the program.
Does BlueStacks make sense for the security business? After all, it is nothing short of a trend that lots of security system applications are coming to market with smartphone and tablet apps as components. The answer to that question appears to be a qualified “yes.”
For systems that are already digital, BlueStacks does not make a compelling case. But if the package is not computer-based and some consideration is being given to put a security app into the customer’s hand to access their security from anywhere, BlueStacks should probably come with the bundle.
Sense for who and whom?
It also makes sense for companies designing ground-up systems with Smartphone or tablet inputting. Using BlueStacks means companies won’t have to have two development teams—one for the mobile app component and the other for the Windows component.
Indiana-based video management software firm Exacq Technologies is a good example of a company that might not benefit from BlueStacks. It is not a good BlueStacks candidate because their system is already PC-based. The only feature Exacq’s clients really like on their app version more than their PC version is the touch-screen interface.
But even the Metro-UI touch-screen interface featured in Windows 8 isn’t enough of a draw to move them from their current configuration. “The Windows 8 operating system still requires input devices, in addition to its software,” said Tom Buckley, Exacq’s director of Sales and Marketing.