Using Android Apps on PC

Yesterday before going out for our usual shopping my younger brother told me he needed to use WhatsApp as soon as possible. His phone was damaged and there wasn’t any time to visit a repair shop. So, what did I do?

Having a strong conviction that there had to be a way to use WhatsApp without having a phone on hand, I hit the internet in search of a way. I ran into a Quora article discussing a few ways of doing just that (Quora was finally really useful! Kidding – Quora is an awesome site). So, I discovered two applications that could accomplish this – one Andy Emulator and another BlueStacks.

So, I tried out Andy Emulator on my Lenovo PC. One large download later and several minutes of supposed-installation, nothing happened. Perhaps there was a bug with the software on my PC, I don’t know. Either way, being in a hurry, I quickly switched gears and tried BlueStacks. Download was quick and the app started without problems. A short while later, my younger brother was able to happily install WhatsApp into BlueStacks, then we put his SIM card into my phone and used that to verify his phone number on WhatsApp’s request, and voila! He was able to use WhatsApp from the PC without a phone! Happy with his triumph, he went on to install some other of his favourite Android apps successfully.

By and large, it’s really amazing to see how virtual machines like BlueStacks, VirtuBox, etc. have greatly increased the range of operating systems, and consequently applications, available to users from a single piece of hardware. For the most part, gone are the days when, just because an application was written for one operating system, a user needs to have just one type of hardware to use that application. I guess the next big leap would be to be able to use software without conventional hardware, e.g. embedding software chips directly into the brain. There’re probably people working on this already. Looking at the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT), everything is becoming “smart” these days, it’s only a matter of time when we become “smart” people as well. Fun times ahead.