How-To: Run Android Apps on Your Windows and Mac Computers

750,000 is a large number. It is not only the approximate land area of Mexico in sq mi., but also the total number of available Android apps. It is also the tagline of our product of the day—BlueStacks. BlueStacks is a unique application that can be downloaded to your Windows PC or your Apple Mac computer in order to run any of these 750,000 Android apps. Pretty cool, huh?

Yesterday, BlueStacks released its application to work with MS Surface Pro, which means the application has support for Windows 8 as well. This means, Android cannot boast having such a vast app ecosystem anymore.

It is a pretty big offering indeed. Being able to run any of those 750,000 Android apps is a really nice thing. So, we decided to give it a shot and see how BlueStacks works on a Windows computer.

1. Installing BlueStacks


You can download BlueStacks from here, depending on the operating system used. After getting the version, just install the file on your computer. I have installed BlueStacks on a Windows 7 Pro computer.

BlueStacks on Win 7 installation


BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 2


BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 3


BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 4


You should enable App store access and App notifications during the installation process, in order for BlueStacks to search on Google Play and other app stores. The important thing is through BlueStacks, you have access to other app stores like GetJar, 1Mobile and Amazon Appstore for Android.

On several forum posts in the BlueStacks support forum, there are issues reported by users running Windows 7 64-bit systems. We haven’t been able to reproduce any issues on my system though. The application installed perfectly and showed us its main window.

2. Associate Your Google Account


As soon as you have installed the application, you can associate your Google account with it. This is one of the primary steps in associating Google Play store to the app.

Linking Google account


Google Play store set up


Successful linking of Google account


3. The Interface


On my 16-inch screen, BlueStacks looked quite like an enlarged tablet. It has the same user interface features of an Android device. It does have that pull-down menu from the top but there isn’t anything in it other than app notifications. In effect, you cannot use it as an Android emulator on Windows.

BlueStacks Main window


The home screen is a well-navigable page containing popular apps and a search function, using which you can search for apps from all of those app stores.

4. Installing Apps


When you search for a new app, it will display a window containing app recommendations.

App recommendations


From these recommendations, if you select an app and click ‘install’, it will in turn search within the app stores and will find the app.

searching for apps


Apps displayed from various app stores


If the app is not compatible, it will say so. Otherwise, you will be able to install the app and select automatic update if necessary.

Mozilla Firefox install


So, as you can see, I have downloaded and installed Firefox on BlueStacks to test the system. Let’s analyze how the app runs.

5. App Performance


After installing Firefox, the system tray notification area on Windows 7 showed the notification of the completed installation. I fired up Firefox and tried to browse a bit. It loaded our home page, albeit slowly.

Firefox displaying BlueBugle


Other apps that I tried also worked perfectly without any issues. I tried installing quite a few apps and tested them. Some of the apps include Evernote, Temple Run, the official Facebook app, etc. They all worked pretty well on BlueStacks.

Facebook Android app on BlueStacks


Temple Run 2


Evernote on BlueStacks


The downloaded app data are stored in BlueStacks special folder at “C:ProgramDataBlueStacks”.



BlueStacks is an amazing application to run Android apps on your PC. It is, as I mentioned earlier, also available for your Macintosh computer. You should note that this is just an app player and not in anyway an Android simulator. It only creates an interface for our computer to be able to run Android apps, and it works pretty well. It can be used to take advantage of your favorite smartphone apps on your PC.

On Surface Pro, this is a very good improvement, as Surface Pro can perform like a notebook, and it runs Windows 8 full version as opposed to the ARM-version, Windows RT. With BlueStacks, Surface Pro will have the unique ability to run all of the applications available for desktop Windows and Android. Windows RT will have to use the fewer number of apps available in the Windows store as it cannot run BlueStacks.

How-To: Save the Battery Life on Apple iPhone 5


Have you been looking for battery saving tips on iPhone 5 quite a lot? Yes, your iPhone has a mediocre battery that gets you going for a day of usage, and if you are lucky, a little more than that. You may really have to work less and keep it locked more often in order to keep the charge.

Have you ever wondered how iPhone 5’s battery which is 1440 mAh delivering 3.8 Volts of power can perform better than iPhone 4S’s 1430 mAh battery giving 3.7 Volts? [Learn about battery parameters]The answer to the question is in the Apple chip used on iPhone 5 as well as the software on the smartphone—iOS 6.

In terms of high-tech hardware and software engineering, nobody comes close to Apple. Remember the first iPhone keynote by Steve Jobs, in which he mentioned a quote by a famous computer programmer, Alan Curtis Kay,

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

Apple has always followed this strategy of making their own hardware and software, so that they get the most optimized products out.

Apple iPhone has obviously medium hardware—dual core A6 chip clocked at only 1.3 GHz, 1 GB RAM, and 1440 mAh Li-Po battery. With such small hardware specs, iPhone gives stellar performance. You can’t even compare it to the competition, where you have Samsung Galaxy S3 with quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and Droid DNA with quad-core 1.5 GHz processor.

Apple makes iPhone’s hardware specifically to run iOS in the most optimized way, and the company makes iOS to efficiently use the available iPhone hardware. This is the main reason why iPhone cannot run other mobile operating systems like Android and iOS cannot be run on devices by other hardware manufacturers.

This is the reason why Apple’s mediocre battery gives such amazing performance on iPhone. Put it in Galaxy S3 and you may drain the same battery in three hours. Let’s find ways to improve the battery life on your iPhone 5.

1. Control the Display

iPhone, just as other smartphones, comes with sensors like the Ambient Light. This means, the phone knows what lighting conditions you are in and can adjust according to that. You should turn on this feature to save more power. You will not notice any difference in the display clarity because your iPhone will increase the brightness when you are in daylight and will dim the screen when you are in darkness, so that the clarity of the display is always even.

If you want to go one step further and keep the display as dim as possible, you can do that too. You probably know the display is the one component that consumes the most of your phone’s battery.

Do it from Settings->Brightness and wallpaper.

Another option you should tweak is the auto-lock time. The smaller the better. Go to Settings->General->Auto-Lock.

2. Tradeoff Between Wi-Fi and 4G

You probably know well that all kind of data connections can easily drain battery. Your iPhone’s data connections come in one of the two ways—3G or 4G LTE and Wi-Fi. While 4G connections are like voice calls—over the cellphone tower—the Wi-Fi connections are through something like a Wi-Fi router at your home or a Wi-Fi hotspot in an airport.

The currently available LTE (in most parts) is not true LTE. It is a combination of 3G technologies like GSM, HSPA, CDMA, etc., and 4G LTE. I won’t bore you with more technical details on this. But the end result is that your iPhone probably needs to be constantly connected to both a 3G network and a 4G network in order to get you that data connection. As a result, it consumes more battery than 3G only phone should, while in fact true 4G LTE should consume much less power than 3G.

In comparison, Wi-Fi always consumes much less power. Hence, it is always better to switch to Wi-Fi for browsing when a hotspot is available. If you are using a jail broken iPhone, you can go with an app called BattSaver that can do this for you.



3. Use Airplane Mode During Travel

You know what happens during your travel? iPhone constantly keeps changing the tower it connects to. It is like taking a continuous phone call, and it will drain your battery pretty quickly. It is always better to turn iPhone into Airplane mode during travel to stop accessing the tower altogether. This can be done from Settings.

4. Configure Data Use By Applications

You need to turn off ‘data Push’ option and check for data less often from apps like Mail. To do these settings, go to Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendar. You can check your email periodically or you can do it manually in order to stop it from running the data connection all the time.

Another important setting you can configure is the location service. Apple iPhone 5 uses Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) to get a location fix on your phone. This is makes use of your data connection in addition to the built-in GPS chip to locate your phone more accurately. On some carriers, this data access is counted toward your total data access and is billable. You should disable location services when you don’t need it. You can do this from Settings->Privacy->Location Services.


One important thing to speak about is that you can now have carrying cases that charge your iPhone on the go. One of them is Mophie Juice Pack Air that retails for 99 dollars at Best Buy.

That product not only protects the iPhone, but also recharges it to provide you with additional usage time. However, it adds a slight bulk to the back of the smartphone.


Apple sadly did not include a big battery with iPhone 5, big like the one found in Samsung Galaxy S3 (2100 mAh) or Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (3300 mAh). However, that would have increased iPhone’s weight considerably from the current 112 g. Also, it wouldn’t have been so thin.

Battery has never been Apple’s real concern during the design of iPhone 5. They wanted to make the phone as thin and light as possible with better performance. That is why they used a Li-Po battery instead of a Li-ion one. Li-Po batteries can be built thin and light and in the shape you want.

Is Apple Making a Watch?


The New York Times’s BITS blog has reported that Apple is preparing a new product, a digital watch that doubles as a computer. Here’s what the report says:

Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not allowed to publicly discuss unreleased products.

There has been quite a bit of rumor about Apple’s watch, known among the technology circles as iWatch. However, there never was any confirmation of the product’s development. This story from BITS may really be the first time that we are ever going to know for sure if such a product is launching or not. If it does, then it will be the first ever innovative product after Tim Cook became CEO in August 2011.

BITS also believes the Apple watch may be using Corning’s Willow glass that can bend around curved surfaces.

In this post are a few thoughts we have about this new watch from Apple.

The man responsible for designing all the modern Apple products, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc., is a British citizen called Sir Jonathan Ive. He joined Apple in 1992 and has since been the second most important executive.


He is the chief of industrial design in Apple and according to Steve Jobs in his biography,

He [Ive] has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me.

In May last year, Jonathan Ive made this comment to the Telegraph:

It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.

Jonathan Ive’s design studio in which he makes great products like the iPhone are completely out of reach of regular Apple employees. This is how Apple keeps its products extremely secretive before launch.

In 2007, during iPhone launch, Apple CEO had contacted Corning to provide tough scratch-resistant glass covering for the display. That was the first ever use of Corning Gorilla Glass, although afterward, Apple remained very secretive about what is used on iPhone display. There is no official publication to date that confirms that iPhone uses Gorilla Glass. Even in the Corning’s list of devices using Gorilla Glass, Apple devices are mysteriously missing. But we have reason to believe that Apple definitely has some tie-up with Corning. Corning says in its page:

Due to customer agreements, we cannot identify all devices that feature Gorilla Glass. Your favorite device may include Gorilla Glass, even if you don’t see it listed. Ask your manufacturer or retailer to learn more.

That should be a direct reference to our favorite Apple devices.

Now, what is its significance in this new watch from Apple? Well, in the report by NYT, we find that Apple may be working on the watch based on another Corning innovation called Willow glass. Willow glass is a bendable glass product that, according to Corning, can be used in curved or ‘wraparound’ displays.

Now, coming from Corning that is not particularly adept at keeping secrets, I believe this ‘wraparound’ thing is a direct reference to Apple watch. Please note that it was first reviewed by Tom’s Hardware in June last year. Also note, we mentioned earlier that in May not long after being knighted, Sir Jonathan Ive had mentioned about their ‘most important work’. I believe it is all coming together now as probably the Willow glass was developed as a result of talks with Apple about their new watch.


Corning Willow glass was reviewed by CNET in January in CES, and it was the first hands-on experience of the product. The first ever rumors of Apple’s watch came up during the end of December last year. So, only a few days in between the first rumors of Apple watch and the hands-on experience with Corning Willow glass! Probably coincidence? I leave it to you to decide. Also, according to Willow glass fact sheet, samples were available only by the third and fourth quarter of 2012.

All these indicate Apple may be coming up with a wearable product that wraps around something and that uses Willow glass. Willow glass is not exactly as scratch resistant as Gorilla glass. Also, it is a lighter, bendable product. A watch doesn’t have to worry about falling down and getting scratched like a smartphone. Hence, we have reason to believe it might really be a watch that Apple is coming up with.

Why might it have been delayed so much? After the Apple Maps fiasco last year, the chief of iOS, Scott Forstall, who headed the Maps team, has stepped down from his position. At that point, Sir Jony Ive was given more duties including software design as well. Due to this increase in duties, it might have taken some time for him to work on the new product that he mentioned way back in May.

At this time, all of this is just conjecture. We don’t have any solid evidence of an upcoming Apple watch. Whatever the new innovation is, we will be eagerly looking forward to it.

The New Apple iMac Review

Apple has released the latest iMac. And I looked at the model and read specifications. It is awesome to the extreme. The iMac comes in two main flavors—21 inch and 27 inch, and with processor and memory tweaks, you can get a brilliant desktop computer with extreme configuration. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this iMac here.

Technical Specifications

Firstly, the Tech Specs of iMac. Here it is …


21-inch model

27-inch model


diagonal 21.5 inches; 1920×1080 resolution

diagonally 27 inches; 2560×1440 resolution


8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz (2 slots of 4 GB each) or expandable to 16 GB (2 slots of 8 GB each)

8 GB (2 4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (expandable to 16 or 32 GB)

Hard disk

1 TB (5400 rpm); upgradable to 1TB Fusion drive

1TB 7200 rpm; upgradable to up to 3 TB of normal hard drive or Fusion drive or 768 GB flash drive

Processor choices

Quad-core Intel Core i5 (2.7 GHz-3.2GHz (with TurboBoost); 6 MB L3 Cache

Core i5-2.9GHz quad-core (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz); 6MB L3 cache (upgradable to 3.1-3.9 GHz Core i7)

Intel Core i5 quad-core 2.9 GHz to 3.6 GHz; 6 MB L3 Cache

Intel Core i5 3.2 GHz, 3.2 GHz to 3.6 GHz; 6 MB L3 Cache (upgradable to Core i7 3.4-3.9 GHz)

Graphics card

GeForce GT 640M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 650M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 660M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 675MX (1GB GDDR5); upgradable to GTX 680MX with 2 GB of memory

Ports available

Headphone jack, SDXC card slot, USB 3 (4 slots), Thunderbolt (2 slots), Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort


Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 inbuilt

Operating System

OS X Mountain Lion

Other software

Safari, Mail, iLife, iMovie, GarageBand, iTunes, etc.


Input: Apple keyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic mouse


The Design

iMac is the thinnest ever among Apple iMacs, although the frontal view of iMac deceptively masks the bulk behind. Look at the image of iMac generations given by Apple:

The different generations of iMac

From the front, it looks like it is as thin as a smartphone, probably the iPhone. The edge of the new iMac is only 5 millimeters thick, making it the thinnest of all high end desktop computers.

The Display

The LED IPS backlight display of iMac produces 75 per cent less reflection according to Apple. This, however, needs to be seen. The reduction in reflection, which used to be one of Apple’s weak points, is a welcome change. Apple has reengineered the display panel to reduce the distance between the antireflective coating and the LCD panel in order to improve the display. This gives the display a printed-on appeal.

The display technology used here is the same as in iPhone 5, and it gives more accurate color reproduction than other technologies like AMOLED.

The Memory

RAM comes at 8 GB standard and you can order up to 32 GB in the 27 inch model and up to 16 GB in the other model. In fact, since this Apple iMac is for the most part of foreseeable future, I recommend purchasing the highest amount of RAM possible.

Another reason is the teardown given by iFixit recently that suggests the memory module is difficult to upgrade.


The Storage

Almost all the storage you need is there in this iMac. 1 TB is the minimum storage available. However, one disappointing aspect of the 21 inch model’s hard disk has the rpm rate of 5400. I recommend any upgrade option to Fusion drive to eliminate issues. The Fusion drive technology is a perfect mix of regular hard drive technology (inexpensive) and Flash drive technology (highly expensive). This makes Fusion drive moderately expensive and better performing than the regular hard disk.

Alternatively, in 27 inch model, you have the option to go for a 768 GB flash storage. It will definitely make your iMac much faster. However, the price will be much higher too. It is an unnecessary option in fact.

The Graphics

NVidia GeForce graphics cards with appropriate amount of memory means you won’t have to worry about gaming and HD video performance. However, I could really use a minimum of 1 GB graphics RAM in all models. It would have been future-proof. In the 27 inch model, you could really go with the 680MX with 2GB option if you are an avid gamer. For regular uses, the other card is more than perfect.


There are no issues there. In all performance tests done by CNET, iMac performs better than the competition. The third generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors of Intel give you the TurboBoost technology. Have you noticed I have given two speed ratings of processors above? The base speed is the original speed of the processor, and when there is high load, the processor automatically overclocks to give the higher speed given in the table. This is the effect of Intel TurboBoost technology.

Ports and Connectors

Apple’s weak point is the ports and connectors available in the iDevices. iMac has four USB 3 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports, SDXC card slot, and a GbE port. One thing to be noted in this iMac is the introduction of Thunderbolt. Two slots Thunderbolt, which supposedly can transfer files at speeds of

Also, this means, you have to separately purchase any adaptor you need for HDMI or DVI or any other such devices.

up to 10 Gbps. If the Apple claim is true, Thunderbolt could prove to be an extremely powerful connector. It can support all kinds of devices—USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, etc. Probably, this is the reason why Apple doesn’t include HDMI, DVI, or such other ports.

The Gigabit Ethernet port is provided in iMac (based on IEEE 802.3-2008 standard which defines faster Ethernet connections) that will provide better connections via Ethernet cord. This is also a future-proof system.

Another important aspect to be noted is the absence of a DVD drive in iMac. It probably came to Apple’s attention that DVDs and even Blu-ray discs are not the technology of the future. Also, if you need to add one, simply use the Thunderbolt or USB 3 connectors.

In terms of ports and connectors, I don’t see any issues other than the need for adaptors, which basically any iDevice needs, I guess.

The Software

iMac comes with all the basic apps preloaded. And it runs Mountain Lion. This means, you don’t have to worry about purchasing or installing new apps for any basic PC functions. On the other hand, in order to do specific jobs, gaming, blogging, design, etc., you have to purchase apps needed through the Mac App Store itself. There is an app that points to the store in the new iMac.

In Conclusion

For gamers and high end workers, fetch the iMac with the best configuration there is—27 inch, with 3.4 GHz processor, 16 or 32 GB RAM (highly future-proof), 3TB storage (do away with the flash drive option), and 680MX graphics processor. For regular users, the low end model is perfect. If you are going to use the iMac for a long time, a RAM upgrade is highly recommended. Overall, there is no competition to the current iMac in performance and aesthetics. Apple has done an amazing job with it.

Apple iPad Mini : How Great This New Tablet Really Is?

Have you wondered recently how Apple is progressing in terms of technical advancements? When Steve Jobs released the first version of iPhone and iPad, and other legendary products like iPod, I have never had any doubt about the technical supremacy of Apple. It’s capability to compete with other products in the niche has been tremendous.


However, now I believe Apple is riding on that respect and repute created during Jobs’ reign, because all that they are doing is creating not-so-appealing products or doing absurd innovation. Why else would they release a lesser iPad with a big price tag? Apple iPad Mini was released with average features at an absurdly big price tag of 329 dollars (starting).

The Tech Specs


Here are the technical specifications of this new iPad.

Display 7.9 inch LED IPS, 1024×768 (163ppi)
Processor 1 GHz ARM-Cortex A9, Apple A5 chip
Camera 5MP
Memory 512 MB RAM
Storage 16/32/64 GB
Battery 16.3 Wh, up to 10 hours of use
Dimensions 7.87×5.3×0.28 inches; 308g


The starting price is 329 dollars, for higher storage, 32 GB for $429 and 64 GB for 529 dollars. The other version, Wi-Fi+Cellular (just like iPad 3) will start from 459 dollars. My question is “Are you ******* kidding me?”

At around 200 dollars you can get a lot of other mini tablets that are perfectly well equipped, from Samsung, Sony, Asus (Google), and Amazon. Spend a little more and you will get wonderful hardware, bigger screens, and a lot more. Kindle Fire HD is an amazing choice for a mini tablet or a big tablet with amazing features. In a tear-down done by iSuppli, we come to see the manufacturing cost of iPad Mini is only 198 dollars, which makes it more profitable than the regular iPad.

iPad Mini doesn’t even have the trademarked â€˜Retina Display’. I don’t know why Apple believes there is a market for mini tablets and would jump into it with a mini (of course it is) tablet at a regular (or higher than that) price tag. I don’t even understand what the whole reason behind this move. It’s just that Apple has seen a niche for mini tablets and as always, wants to monopolize that realm as well. I think the company has gone way too confident of itself. They probably believe their customers will stand by the brand despite such insane price tags

I say Apple products are great, including the latest iPhone and the iPad (not Mini). But I sincerely would advise against this iPad Mini. Also, it waits to be seen whether iPhone 5S is going to cut it or not.


[Update: ]

Here is a table comparing the performance of iPad Mini and competing tablets, the table has been prepared with data from Geekbench.

Tablet (Processor & technology used) Geekbench Score
Samsung’s Google Nexus 10 (Exynos 5250 1.7 GHz, ARM Cortex-A15) 2433
Apple iPad (4th gen (Apple A6X dual-core 1.4 GHz, based on custom microarchitecture, Swift) 1776
Samsung Galaxy Note II and upcoming Galaxy Note 8.0 (Exnynos 4412, 1.6 GHz quad-core) 1936
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (Exynos 4412, 1.4 GHz quad-core) 1702
Asus Nexus 7 (NVidia Tegra 3, quad-core 1.3 GHz 1481
Apple iPhone 5 (Apple A6, dual-core 1.3 GHz) 1587
Apple iPad 3 (Apple A5X dual-core 1 GHz) 848
Apple iPad 2 (Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz) 782
Apple iPad Mini (Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz) 755


As you can see, iPad Mini is at the very bottom of benchmark charts. It includes the yesteryear processor that used to ship with iPad 2, and the latest iPad 4 and other Android tablets are way ahead of Mini in performance.