Everyone loves new toys to play with, so get your hands on Android 3.0 or any version come to mention it (yup, don’t miss the Android 4.0 emulation guide), up and running on your desktop PC via the Google Android SDK. It’s an interesting and relatively easy way of getting first-hand experience of the Android OS without moving out of the buttock imprints on your comfy chair. You’ll need three things:
- An internet connection, which if you’re reading this we’ll assume you can tick off
- The correct Java JDK
- The Android SDK from Google
For any of this to work you’ll need to first download and install the correct Java JDK. If you head to Oracle’s Java download page, it can all get a little bit confusing for non-developers types. As the Android SDK will point out you don’t want just the JRE or Java Runtime Environment, you need the full Java Development Kit, the JDK + NetBeans Bundle seemed to cause least problems for us.
Make sure you get the right JDK
You’ll now be able to install the Android SDK, this in fact is like a front-end that will download the various parts of the SDK including the emulator and required images for the various versions of Android from 1.5 all the way to 3.0 and a couple of variants such as the Samsung Galaxy or Sony. Make sure you select at least the version of Android you’ll want to run, if not all of them!
Android SDK emulation selection
To set up and run an Android emulation, select Virtual devices and click New. Give your device any old name, use the pull-down menu to choose the type of Android device it should be and finally give it some storage space via the SD Card section. The rest of the settings can be left to default values, however the Skin lets you adjust the resolution and you can install additional features via the Hardware > New… button, such as cameras. Click Create AVD to get this party started.
A word of warning here, the emulation is very resource hungry. It not only creates a lot of heavy drive access but as it’s only single threaded it’s also CPU demanding. Our ageing 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo struggled somewhat, though it was useable. We imagine a more modern Core i5/7 with single-threaded turbo boost would help things run far more smoothly.
UPDATE: We’ve managed to hack in the Android Market to the Android Emulator.
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