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Qualcomm Now Investing in BlueStacks Android Emulator

BlueStacks said on Tuesday that Qualcomm Incorporated (via Qualcomm Ventures) has invested an undisclosed amount of money (seven figures) with the company. BlueStacks is behind the popular Android App Player (emulator) for Windows 7 that allows end users to purchase and run Android apps from four markets within the virtual environment, or import and install apps from their Android-based smartphones and tablets.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for computing experiences that enable them to access their apps across different platforms," said Nagraj Kashyap, vice president of Qualcomm Ventures. "We believe BlueStacks is well positioned to capitalize on the marriage of mobile and PC."

Qualcomm currently joins a seemingly growing list of financial supporters including Andreessen-Horowitz, Radar Partners, Ignition Partners, AMD, Citrix, and many others. Just recently the company released its first beta of the Android emulator on March 27 after a successful three month alpha test that attracted just over a million users by the end of 2011.

According to BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma, Beta 1 of the App Player accumulated over a million downloads in just the first 10 days. Additionally, users have collectively run over 12 million apps within the emulator, both free and premium versions.

"We’ve seen long session times and a lot of stickiness, which is good. Our focus now is on making App Player as fast and robust as it can possibly be," Sharma said.

So far running Android apps within the BlueStacks App Player is completely free, but that may change in the future. Right now the team is reportedly focused on bringing the Android app catalog to a new market: the Windows 7-based consumer whether it's a desktop, laptop or tablet. The team has also used Beta 1 as a launchpad for its patent-pending technology called "Layercake" which allows graphics-intensive apps to run in the virtual environment.

For the beta, BlueStacks partnered with the developers behind Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Townsmen, Evernote, Defender and StumbleUpon to bundle their software with the Android emulator. So far everyone involved seems pleased with the resulting release, including Fruit Ninja developer HalfBrick.

"We’ve been really pleased with the numbers they’ve has brought us in just the first 10 days," said HalfBrick CEO, Shainiel Deo. "We get approached to port to different platforms all the time. It makes it much easier to say yes when we don’t have to do any heavy lifting. We’ve already developed for Android, so we’ve already developed for BlueStacks. It’s a simple proposition with a hefty payoff."

It's also a new road of revenue for Android developers. Question is, what will happen once BlueStacks begins charging for the software? Perhaps the best route would be for BlueStacks to leave it free and provide its own Android marketplace within the App Player which in turn would use a portion of the revenue to pay for development costs and so on.

"I’ve done a lot of product launches and you never know what to expect. We’re very fortunate the market has taken so well to our beta," Sharma said.

Check out our hands-on preview of the BlueStacks App Player.