Technology

AMD deal brings Android apps to Windows 8

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer
Microsoft is working hard to convince developers to make apps for Windows 8

Some Windows 8 laptops and PCs could end up running more Android apps than ones written for Microsoft's software.

Gadgets built around chips made by AMD will come optimised to run the Android apps.

A collaboration between AMD and software firm Bluestacks lets the devices run the 500,000 apps more usually found on Android phones.

By contrast, Microsoft reportedly only has a few thousand apps written specifically for Windows 8 at launch.

The Android apps will be available on Windows 8 devices via AMD's AppZone player. Inside this is code from Bluestacks that acts as a wrapper around the mobile phone programs so they can run on desktops, laptops and tablets.

AMD has made changes to the core code that runs its processors and graphics cards to ensure apps built for the small screens on mobile phones look good and run well on larger displays.

Store war

The deal means future AMD-based gadgets will ship with the AppZone player installed, letting users get at apps such as Fruit Ninja and Flipboard that they know from their phone.

The player also lets users synchronise their apps across both a PC and an Android phone or tablet. AMD has about a 25% share of the market for desktop computers.

As Windows 8 has been developed to work well with portable devices such as tablets, Microsoft has been working to create an ecosystem of apps for the operating system. However, some reports suggest that a month prior to the launch of Windows 8 there are only about 2,000 apps available for it in Microsoft's Windows Store.

Bluestacks' Android-running software also works on Intel-powered devices, including Macs, but typically has to be installed after a gadget has been bought and booted up.

Bluestacks is also talking to other PC makers to get its software installed as PCs are put together in a factory.

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