Thursday 15 December 2011

Android emulator speedy alternative?

I was very tempted to test out Android-x86 in a VM as per Thierry Delprat’s nice step-by-step tutorial How to speed up the Android Emulator by up to 400%. The article runs through how to take an .iso image targeted at an Eee PC, install it on a VirtualBox VM, tweak the display attributes to look like a telephone and then register its network address with Android’s adb tool to allow it to be accessed from Eclipse or Oxygene for Java.

The result is a lightning fast start-up time and a very performant emulator replacement.

However there are evident problems with this option. Firstly, it’s not an emulator – it’s not running ARM code as the emulator does. It’s running x86 code. But also, only the core open source Android libraries are ported to Android-x86. Proprietary libraries such as the Google Maps API are absent and a lack of approval from Google means they won’t be making their way to Android-x86 any time soon.

Given that the project that has occupied my time lately required use of the Google Maps library, that rather meant that Android-x86 was a non-starter. Though I may have a go for the next project…..

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