Yay! Free stuff! Everyone loves free stuff. And there’s plenty of it on Android, with more than 927,000 free apps available in the Google Play store right now. We know, because we counted.*
Be aware, however, some games work better than others. A slower-paced game such as EA Mobile’s The Simpsons: Tapped Out or Kabam’s Heroes of Camelot worked much better than “twitchy” titles like Gears Studios’ Flappy Bird or Glu’s Frontline Commando, for example. (Yes, while the cult hit Flappy Bird was taken down by its developer, you can still play it for free through App Player’s built-in app store.) The problem with some fast games is lag, which can result in choppy performance. Plus, some games simply work better with your fingertip than a mouse and keyboard (though many PCs today offer touch-screens, too). Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars II Free felt pretty good, though.
“App Player employs complex virtualization technology that took 10 engineers two years to build — and we are always improving,” says Gargiulo. “We are the only product in the world that can run virtually any mobile app on PC or Mac.”
YWCA Safety Alert: A tap on the alert button or a shake of the phone in an emergency situation activates the app, and an alarm gives out a loud shrilling sound to attract the attention of passer-bys within the vicinity. It also sends out the distress signal with an email and SMS along with a GPS location.
Quite simply, App Player is a free program that lets you run Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”) and supported apps on your computer — as if you were accessing them on your smartphone or tablet.
In fact, the operating system doesn’t know it is being run on a personal computer. App compatibility is “north of 95%,” says BlueStacks marketing exec John Gargiulo at the San Jose, Calif.-based start-up.