Virtualization doesn't always have to be about administrators in khaki pants and polo shirts splicing up physical servers into many virtual servers behind data center walls. The technology can provide end-users with a bit of fun as well.
BlueStacks, a company that launched in 2009 with $15 million of investment money from Andreessen-Horowitz, Radar Partners, Redpoint, Ignition Partners, and Qualcomm, decided to use virtualization to bring the energy of the mobile app world to every type of device on the market, then turn it into big business.
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I first met up with BlueStacks at Citrix Synergy in 2011. At the time the company was showing off a beta version of its LayerCake mobile-to-PC virtualization technology, which gave PC users the ability to run Android applications on their Windows laptop and desktops. It took the company two years to build the LayerCake technology, and it's already been downloaded more than 10 million times.
During our discussion at Citrix Synergy, company representatives declined to share any of the details about how the virtualization technology worked. All they would say is that it would allow Android, which was designed for lower-powered smartphones and tablets, to run efficiently on higher-powered PCs. The company also stated that end-users wouldn't have to toggle between operating systems, but instead could simply click on an icon for an Android application to launch and use it in a Windows environment. This capability was later extended to Mac environments.
Fast-forward two years and the company is back with a new virtualization process designed to bring together Android and iOS applications and deliver them to a big-screen television via the company's Android-powered TV set-top box.