There are a few options available to those wanting to run Android apps on a Windows machine. The first, and oldest, is the official Android emulator; there's also Bluestacks, which has been around for a while. Today another contender emerges -- WindowsAndroid, from Chinese startup SocketeQ. Unlike the emulator, it runs Android natively on your Windows PC, and unlike Bluestacks it brings to life the full Android OS, not just individual apps. Essentially, it's full-blown open-source Android running natively, in a window, on Microsoft's desktop OS.

The current version is based upon Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich; SocketeQ says that a "new version" is being planned, presumably based on the newer Jelly Bean. It uses the Android tablet UI, and you can control things using the keyboard and mouse.

On the whole, it's a pretty speedy, if slightly buggy experience. We used WindowsAndroid on a 3GHz Core 2 Quad rig -- by no means bleeding edge -- and the whole OS ran smoothly without taxing the CPU too much. There are some glitches to watch out for, though. Certain tasks, like trying to load the camera, will result in a crash, and loading some websites in the browser will result in an error message, accompanied by missing images. So it's still early days for WindowsAndroid at present.

What's great for hackers is that the entire directory/partition structure of Android can be fiddled with directly through Windows -- just navigate to C:\SocketeQ\windowsandroid_root, assuming you've installed it to the default location. That means sideloading apps is simply a matter of loading the relevant files into /data/app.

The WindowsAndroid installer weighs in at 64MB, and takes up 300MB when fully installed. You can find download locations over at the source link; it's also mirrored elsewhere if you're having trouble downloading via the overloaded official server.

Source: WindowsAndroid; via: TNW

 

Reader comments

WindowsAndroid is ICS running on your Windows box, we go mouse-on

40 Comments

It looks like this run Android on it's own virtual machine..... which is no different from what standard Android SDK Emulator is doing if you use x86 system image. But ability to use normal directory as storige is cool feature :)

It intrigged me so i downloaded and installed... it seems like it really a Windows port of Androdroid evnriament :p It looks like something made out of Cygwin or something like that, it does not have Linux kernel.... thats good maybe people will finally realize that Android is not really full operating system by itself but custom envriament running on Linux :p Pretty cool immporessed.

Interesting, except that it is MS-Windows only. Would want something for Linux.
I would also be nervous about giving a Chinese company my Android credentials.

There is this: http://androvm.org/blog/ Which is for Virtualbox, which (of course) works on all platforms. It still has some problems (mostly with being slow for games, no absolute pointer support, and screen rotation issues) but it does work.

Well if you patch up your linux kernel ith features and Android needs i bet you could run x86 Android via chroot as Canonical already do inverted thing with there Ubuntu on Android, problem would be would run on full screen and outside of x.org... maybe diffent monitor then? Defently it would be easier then what they are doing as we got ready Linux kernel on board.

As for Virtualbox solution, did you tried Android SDK Emulator with x86 Android and KVM? it works really smooth :)

This has me thinking about getting a Microsoft Surface tablet and kind of running dual boot using this to make it also an android tablet. I know it doesn't have multitouch and it is limited but it is in it's early stages. This has the potential to be cool though if it could work the way I am imagining.

It's not dual-booting, this thing runs Android environment direly on Windows like Windows application. I bet would be easy to make it launch from Metro UI, leave it and re-enter it anytime you want

I'm with you Josh, putting this on a Surface would be awesome. I wonder if you could then put Ubuntu for Android on top of that. #geekgasm

No ; p if you want to run linux applications on windows try cygwin, thru you will need to compile them and there dependies

Seems pretty slick to me! For some reason I get more of a phone UI not tablet with no software keys, and havent figured out how to adjust that.

Want your gapps? Simply download an ICS gapps package (http://goo.im/gapps/gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip), unzip it and merge the /system folder and its contents with the /socketeq/windowsandroid_root/system folder, and reload. Now you got the play store! Dont count on there being any supported apps though (a few, but none of the good ones).

Edit: Play store is there, you can navigate it, but I keep getting an error when I try and install anything. Also tried droping superuser and binary in with no luck, though it will open, apps that require root dont seem to work.

Java apps should work without any problems as Java is higher/VM language or else there system build missing something, native apps (like games) defently won't work as they would require recomplation to that Cygwin-like thing they using.

I'm stuck on the android boot screen then it crashes. running windows 8. Like everything else with win8, probably not compatible. Goona try it on the laptop running windows 7 ultimate

Is there any way I can run this on my car?
My headunit (In-Vehicle Infotainment System) is Windows CE-based with Atom processor.

When I open WindowsAndroid I'm getting this error "The procedure entry point GetTickCount64 could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.dll"
I'm using Xp.

How to install apps from google play store when there is no play store app in it.
when i visit the play store thu the browser its tells me use the play store app.
so what to do ???? Help plz

@Josh Trolio,yhat won't work as surface doesn't run windows and doesn't run Windows apps.

Sounds like you have also been fooled by Microsoft's marketing.

What are you talking about? There are 2 types of Surface in case you haven't noticed. Please do your research before you mislead people. The surface pro runs any native windows application.

I paste Viber.apk to data/app directory but when i want to run windowsandroid again this error "app-process.exe has stopped working" appears what should i do?? please help me

Why is it not working for me, I have installed it and then i clicked it and in went to command prompt and then it closed.. I tried running as admin and it still did not run... PLEASE HELP!

I downloaded it, and it crashed before it even fully started up. I'm running Windows 7 on a fast processor with 8 GB of RAM. Why wouldn't it work?

I can run it on Win7 platform. The WindowsAndroid starts up and run, but it cannot download apps, and not runable any external apps. How to solve it?

hi can someone help me i'm facing that problem after instalation i have have windows xp pro dual core cpu 2.2 and 2gb ram

the following problem is "The procedure entry point GetTickCount64 could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.dll"

please i'm waiting for your help...

my mail is charityhack13@yahoo.com

thanks