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Android apps available on Mac thanks to Blue Stacks

Following the headline-grabbing Google I/O this week, Bluestacks has unveiled new software that lets Android apps run on Mac OS X.

BlueStacks' Android App Player lets Apple computer owners access apps in the Google Play Store and install them on any Mac laptop or desktop, all for free when you sign up as a tester on the BlueStacks website.

While Bluestacks boasts that 400,000 Android apps are coming to Mac for the first time, the software currently offers only a measly 17 apps, mostly from BlueStacks' developer partners, including HandyGames, Creative Mobile, and Pulse. More app developers are on their way, the company promised, saying that the system will be beefed up with new apps every month.

"By bringing Android apps to Mac we are breaking open the Apple ecosystem, which has traditionally been closed," BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma said in a statement.

The system, powered by LayerCake technology, is currently in public alpha, and the team is looking for user feedback, submitted through its website.

Sharma said that Android-based tablets are struggling due to a lack of enticing apps, but the Bluestacks app player "could be an incentive for developers to build high-resolution apps to work on displays like the new MacBook Pro Retina."

"We love any new distribution channels that open up to us and this is a big one," Andrew Zhang, CEO of app developer Droidhem, said in a statement. "Mac users also spend more money [so] we're excited to have our apps involved."

In March, BlueStacks released its PC beta for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 users, and it took off faster than planned, according to Sharma.

"People are spending a lot of time on their smartphones and want the same experience on all devices," the CEO said.

In an effort to court Android developers, Bluestacks celebrated the product's launch Wednesday in a ceremony under a real wedding tent stationed outside of this week's Google I/O conference.