Can BlueStacks Give Microsoft’s Tablets an Edge?

A recent software could reshape the smartphone and tablet market, potentially giving Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) a new edge, or acting as a great equalizer.

The software is called BlueStacks and is made by the privately-held company by the same name. The name gives no hint as to what it does, but BlueStacks has the potential to change some key dynamics between the various smartphone and tablet platforms.

The BlueStacks program is an Android emulator, meaning that people can run Android apps in the program as if they were using an Android device. While the feature is nifty for people who just have a Mac or PC and still want to have fun with apps, the broader significance of an app like this isn’t at first apparent.

Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) app store has been growing and growing, adding more and more apps, recently having caught up to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) tally of apps. The ever-growing market for Android apps and the expanding user-base of Android devices could be a major pull for app developers to target Android first, before iOS or Windows devices…

Being the first to have hot apps could drive up device sales and create a cycle of continued growth with Android sales and apps. BlueStacks stands to make Android even more popular for app developers, because now they are able to reach beyond Android users, and can make apps that PC and Mac users can enjoy as well.

This is where things get tricky. The ability to access the massive library of Android apps from other devices could actually take away from interest in Android devices, as users could enjoy the apps without needing the devices. The impact in the smartphone market may not be too big, as BlueStacks is a computer app and won’t have iPhones running Android apps anytime soon — it’s still in beta for Mac and PC — but the tablet market has a much bigger chance to be upset.

As some may know, Microsoft recently launched its Surface Pro tablet, which is a deceptive piece of hardware because it actually has the full functionality of a PC, whereas other tablets have more simplified mobile operating systems. This means that the Surface Pro — and other Windows 8 devices — could run BlueStacks and all of Android’s 700,000+ apps, on top of Windows’ own apps.

BlueStacks for Windows 8 was launched Tuesday and optimized for the Surface Pro. The feature could immediately allow Windows 8-based tablets to start stealing sales from Android-based tablets, as the Surface Pro would be capable of running all Android apps and more.

So, while BlueStacks may boost app developers’ interest in the Android platform, then boosting Android sales, it could also diminish Android sales in the tablet market, as users migrate to Windows 8 tablets to get all that Windows and Android have to offer in one device.

Of course, the Surface Pro is significantly more expensive than Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Android-based Kindle tablets, and really, more expensive than most other tablets out there, including Apple’s large range of iPads. If Microsoft’s more inexpensive tablets could run BlueStacks, that might be more of a game-changer. Of course, Microsoft eventually might take its cue from Apple and release a lower-end device comparable to the iPad mini, and then all bets are off.

Don’t Miss: Would Amazon Spin Off This Profitable Division?