Android OS
Run-Android-Apps-On-Desktop
How To Run Android Apps On Desktop

Previously I wrote about Genymotion, a x86 based Android virtual machine that brings you a smooth and delightful user experience using OpenGL. Of course the VM is essentially an emulator on steroids and Google does not allow users to access the Play Store unless they’re using a physical device. Today I’ll be showing you how to download any app from Google Play and installing it on your Genymotion configuration.

Why?

We all have our favourite apps that we need/want to use all the time. Sometimes these apps don’t have a desktop client and we’re stuck with just using them on our phones. This setup will help act as a secondary means of using your favourite android apps.

Users who are considering switching to Android, may need a little convincing before making the purchase. While heading down to your local phone shop might be easier, you never get the full experience with the pushy sales person breathing behind your neck. This will allow you to experience Android on your desktop and decide whether or not to make the jump.

You can read more about the why here!

Problem

You’re using a desktop environment and running Android as a virtual machine in what is essentially an emulator. Google has restriction is place to make sure only physical devices are capable of downloading apps from Google Play.

To police this, every device has a Device ID that the phone uses to download apps with. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to get yourself a device ID and help you get setup to download any apps from Google Play.

Solution

We’re going to use a chrome extension that allows us to download APKs from Google Play. We’ll also be using bluestacks to get ourselves a Device ID. This might seem a bit overwhelming but it’s fairly straightforward if you follow the steps outlined below.

1- Download and install the latest version of Chrome

Download-Google-Chrome

2- Download and Install BlueStacks

Download-BlueStacks

3- Download APK Downloader Extension for Chrome and install it

Google Play APK Downloader

4- Launch BlueStacks and click on the App Search icon and search for Device ID 

BlueStacks-App-Search

5- Once installed, launch Device ID and copy the string of text and numbers to your computer

6- Head over to your APK Downloader Options and use your credentials to sign in to Google Play. Use this link to view options (Chrome only)

Google Play APK Downloader Options

7- From here on, whenever the extension detects that you’re on Google Play, and there is an APK available, you’ll see an icon next to the bookmark button in your address bar. Click the icon and your APK will start downloading.

Download-APKs-From-Google-Play

Next Step

You now need to figure out the best way for you to get your apps across to Genymotion. You can do this by simply emailing yourself the APKs and downloading them on Genymotion. Of course my favourite was of installing apps on Genymotion is the APK drag and drop, but for that you need to have ADB enabled (a little bit geeky).

If you have any questions or issues with this tutorials, feel free to shoot me a comment, I read all this stuff and respond to as many as I can. You can also reach out to me on twitter, for a faster reply.