AMD has joined a $5.6m investment round in BlueStacks, the software specialist that enables Android apps to run on x86-based Windows computers. The investment, made with Citrix, will see AMD leverage BlueStacks virtualization with its tablet and notebook/netbook processors; BlueStacks intends to use the extra cash to accelerate development, with a beta and Pro version – capable of running paid Android apps – both expected by the end of 2011.
BlueStacks released an alpha of its Player software for Windows earlier this month, allowing Windows users to load Android apps and run them with no modifications involved. Apps can be loaded from the regular .APK file, and played in either full-screen or windowed. A Mac version is in the pipeline, and the company confirmed it was in further talks with PC manufacturers regarding preloading BlueStacks onto new computers and tablets.
AMD says it expects to use the BlueStacks investment to leverage tablets and computers running on AMD processors, while Citrix is eyeing the software’s potential in enterprise settings. AMD has previously admitted that it was slow to broach the mobile computing market, only recently launching chips suitable for tablets and still ignoring smartphones.
Like Intel, AMD has struggled to gain traction among slates, seeing rival ARM picked for the majority of tablets for its chipsets’ low power consumption and solid multimedia potential. So far Windows-based models have been the exception, but Microsoft has confirmed it is working on Windows 8 on ARM builds for 2012.
Having cross-platform Android app compatibility could certainly work in AMD’s favor, and help the company differentiate between its chips and those of rival Intel. Reports out of Taipei have suggested AMD’s bargain pricing is already biting into Intel’s Atom sales.