AMD's AppZone provides Android emulation through the BlueStacks software, but do your really want Fruit Ninja on your desktop?
AMD has taken a leaf out of rival Intel's books, launching a software distribution platform designed to showcase applications that work particularly well on its Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) chips.
Dubbed 'AMD AppZone,' the software is a clear response to Intel's AppUp
software centre, which showcases software designed specifically for the company's Atom and low-end Core processor families. AppZone, then, is roughly the same: a storefront of software, largely centred around casual games, that is guaranteed to operate correctly on low-end AMD GPUs, CPUs and APUs.
Where the site differs, however, is in integration with the BlueStacks compatibility layer. By tying in with the BlueStacks software, AppZone is able to connect to Android user's Google Play accounts and run Android-targeted software on a Windows-based desktop, laptop or tablet. Similar to the wine compatibility layer - which allows Windows applications to be run on Linux - the emulation is invisible to the user, although not every Android package is guaranteed to work.
It's the BlueStacks integration that really makes AppZone stand out: by tying in to Google Play, applications which have already been purchased on an Android smartphone or tablet can be installed for free on your desktop or laptop. It also gives AMD a massive library of software at launch - something the AppUp site was very slow to build.
Sadly, there is an elephant in the room that really needs to be addressed: Android apps are not desktop apps, and are designed around the needs of a smartphone user. While tablet-centric applications like the Pulse newsreader may be usable on a desktop or laptop, the majority of apps are tailored to small-screen devices with touch-sensitive controls - and aren't likely to be much use on a large-screen desktop with a keyboard and mouse.
The site doesn't just offer access to Android software, however, with several games titles like Deus Ex: Human Revolution also being showcased through the AppZone. Sadly, these aren't available for one-click installation - although should AppZone attract a number of followers, that could very well change.
If you want to see what 'cool apps' - AMD's phraseology, not ours - are available on AppZone, the site is live now