Google provides an SDK and developer tools for Android that will let you run an Android emulator on a PC. But if you just want to check out Android or try an Android app without buying a phone or fumbling through developer tools, there’s an easier way. YouWave is a free app that lets you install Android and run it as a PC app on Windows 7, Vista, or XP.

YouWave currently runs a version of Android 2.1 which has been tweaked to run on x86-based processors. Some apps, such as Angry Birds, won’t run properly since they require ARM-based chips, but many other apps will run just fine. I tried Newspapers and Robo Defense on YouWave this morning and both worked quite nicely.

Navigating through the Android interface with a mouse and keyboard is sort of a strange experience. The Home, Back, and Menu buttons are all located at the top of the screen and you need to use a mouse to trigger them. On the other hand, it’s kind of nice being able to launch the web browser and enter a URL with a full sized QWERTY keyboard.

YouWave felt a bit slow when navigating through menus on my system, but my primary PC is a couple of years old. It may run better on newer hardware. Once apps were loaded, most of the apps I tried ran at full speed.

In order to run a third party app, you have to double-click on it in the window on the left. This loads it in the Android system in the right window. You can download and install some third party apps directly from the YouWave interface, or manually add downloaded APK files to the apps directory. They won’t show up in the app launcher window in the Android system.

You can check out some more screenshots, as well as a demo video after the break.

via Android Central

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...