Why Do People Want to Run Mobile Apps on Their PCs?

Why Do People Want to Run Mobile Apps on Their PCs?

At the beginning of August in 2012 Microsoft released Windows 8 which featured a special interface called “Metro.” Aside from being a very controversial move, the interface was supposed to unify both the mobile and traditional desktop environments that Microsoft had developed. Apps that would work on tablets would also be accessible on a personal computer. While it wasn’t the most popular decision the company made, products like “Andy” make it clear that there is a clear demand with some people for emulating mobile operating systems (or at least certain features of them) on their desktops.

The Windows 8 Fiasco


As Benjamin from KitGuru writes, “many people do not want to deal with radical interface changes between operating systems in the same family.” This is precisely what made Windows 8 a very unpopular operating system, particularly among computing enthusiasts. Its mobile-like interface was often just treated as an obstacle to the pristine tried-and-true desktop model. Okay, so people don’t like to have mobile interfaces shoved in front of them every time they try to access their desktop computers. But what do we do about the people who want to run apps from their tablets on their PCs?

The obvious answer to this question is “anything except what Microsoft did.” The release of Windows 10 sent the message that Microsoft observed the failure of this model and backpedaled entirely into a more traditional structure. Although one could admire that they have accepted defeat, it will take a long time for the company to shake off the shadow that Windows 8 had cast on them. It’s now clear to us that not everyone wants to run “apps” on their PCs, and many of those who do still want a traditional desktop experience. Perhaps the best way to approach the subject would be from a third-party program.

Why Not Just Use the Device Itself?


For people who don’t consider running mobile apps on their desktops important, it’s rather difficult to empathize with the need for this kind of thing. “You have a tablet or a smartphone, right? You can just reach for it and use it every time you need its environment. That’s why you bought one.”

After doing some thinking, I’ve realized that there are probably several reasons why someone might want to use their apps on their PC. Here are a few of them:

  • You’re near-sighted or have other visual problems that prevent you from seeing the fine details on smaller screens.
  • You don’t have a tablet which provides a slightly bigger screen.
  • You have a preference for huge screens, so why not?
  • Your phone or tablet broke, but you still want access to all those juicy apps.
  • You don’t have a phone or tablet and would rather use your PC than shell out all the cash necessary to buy these devices.

In any case, there could be any number of reasons why someone would want to run a mobile app on their desktop computer. It’s obvious that there’s a small group of people who would stand to benefit from this. What we’ve all learned from this, however, is that it’s not necessarily a good idea to make this function an integral part of the desktop environment. Rather, there are emulators out there (like iPadian for iOS and Andy for Android) which can provide an experience that is either similar or identical to their counterparts.

If you have any other thoughts on this particular subject, such as another reason why people might want to use “apps” on their PCs, share it with us in a comment!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.


  1. I tried to use Anachron (apparently without success) to run conversations (a great Android xmpp client) on my Linux Desktop. There is a lot of Jabber Clients for Linux – but apparently one that brings OMEMO out of the box.

    Another reason is to run Games that just exist for Android.etc.

  2. My reason is using apps like whatsapp and Instagram. For me typing on a PC keyboard is a whole lot easier then typing on my Iphone keyboard. So for me using these apps on my PC is a whole lot easier then on my Iphone

  3. don’t know if you count laptops as PCs but google is trying to mesh their play.store with chrome OS laptops which I think would be a very good thing.

  4. I use Team viewer to show my tablet’s screen in a meeting. In this way I can even show it in a online meeting to parties not in the room as I share my screen and on my screen is my tablet.

    With Team viewer I can do almost everything on my tablet via my PC using the mouse for touch.

  5. There are many reasons that I would use my PC (laptop or desktop) to run android apps:
    1. Most newspapers appear in android-Chrome more like real newspapers, without minimal ads etc. In general (leaving aside the smaller screen) I find it simpler and more natural reading newspapers from android/iOS apps.
    2. Certain important applications are available only as android/iOS apps.
    I’d like also run PC apps from my smartphone or tablet, or even apps available in another OS. Take a look at rollapp.com to see what I mean.

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