How to emulate Android on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer

In addition to helping us to take screenshots of our mobile using the computer, the SDK Android incorporate other tools Very useful that will delight anyone who wants to examine all the news that the latest versions of Android incorporate as Google launches them.

A very interesting tool is the emulator, with which, and even if we do not have an Android phone or device, we can test all existing versions of Android on our computer with Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. In Engadget Android we will try to give you a hand in this special article with a tutorial for each operating system and a general one to finalize the emulator configuration in all of them. Let’s get started.

All versions of the SDK Android they are very easy to install, but each one has its logical peculiarities when targeting different platforms. To begin we have to visit the official website of Android Developers, in its section dedicated to the SDK, to proceed to select and download the one for our operating system. Let’s see how it is done in each of them Step by Step.

Installing the Android emulator on Windows

It is, without a doubt, the SDK most “folksy” of all. It comes served in a couple of versions, a ZIP compressed and a comfortable executable self-installable in EXE, we have downloaded the latter.

When downloading, we double click on its installer and proceed to carry out the eternal routine of clicking “Next” until, as we suppose it will happen, one of the windows do not allow us to advance in the installation.

We will then see the warning that we must install the utility Java SE Development Kit (JDK) from Oracle. As simple as pressing the button that directs us to its download website, download it and begin the installation.

After installing the JDK We will proceed to close our main installation window of the SDK and start it again, now the installation will be completed successfully and, after it, the application will proceed to open “SDK Manager“, exclusively for Windows. The files installed by the executable are located by default in the path C: / Program Files / Android from our hard drive.

If we have used the compressed version in ZIP of the SDK, we will access the unzipped folder from the ZIP and we will execute the aforementioned application “SDK Manager “(the one with an icon of the Android logo), taking into account that we must have the complement JDK previously installed.

We will have everything ready to move on to the configuration of the emulator itself in our Windows.

Installing the Android emulator on Mac OS X

The installation of the SDK on Mac OS X it is practically similar to the previous one but with some shortcomings and advantage that make it different.

The version of the SDK for Mac OS X is included only in a ZIP file, it does not have an installer. But, on the other hand, its effective steps to get it ready are reduced to two: Download the file from the official website and decompress the folder included in the ZIP in the place that we deem convenient on our hard drive. You don’t need anything else.

After this we will open the unzipped folder and access the folder “tools“that appears inside it. Inside the tools folder there are many files, we will focus on executing the file called”android“.

The application will load the Mac OS X terminal and the SDK Manager, now there is only the finishing touch, that is, configure the emulator.

Installing the Android emulator on Linux Ubuntu

The installation in Linux, which in this case has been done using Ubuntu 10.10, It is practically similar to the Mac, although here we will need to install a couple of extra add-ons, as in the case of Windows.

The first thing is to download your file compressed in TGZ and extract the folder that it contains inside to the place that we want the most on our hard drive. After this, we must go to “Synaptic package manager“as indicated in the following image.

When the manager interface appears we must write “openjdk“in your search box. After waiting for the results to appear, we must mark the kit”OpenJDK 6 jre“and all its necessary plugins (which will be automatically marked) to proceed with their installation.

If for some reason you do not let us install it from this manager, there are alternate directions online to download these necessary add-ons. Using Google shouldn’t take long to find them.

After installing these add-ons we will have everything ready to access the unzipped folder, enter the folder “tools“inside and double click on the file”android“that appears in it. SDK Manager will load and we can now go to the configuration of the emulator itself.

Last step to configure the emulator of the SDK Android on our computer

Once with him SDK Manager open, we will look at its main window. On the left there is a frame with several tabs to choose from, among them there is a call “Available packages“, which is what we need now.

When you click on it, a couple of options appear in the form of drop-down called “Android Repository“and” Third party Add-ons “, we are interested in the first one, so we deploy it.

It is then that the entire list of Android versions to choose to install in the emulator appears before us, we have opted to select the preview of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Doing so will mark other necessary components. Click on “install“.

A last window will appear in which we must mark the option “Accept all“on the right to start the download.

Depending on the number of versions that we are downloading and the speed of the Internet line that we have, the installation will take more or less. Normally, if we have only chosen one version, they are about 5 or 10 minutes.

After this, the download window will appear with a complete progress bar, it’s time to press “Close“.

Now we will return to the main window of the SDK Manager, but this time, we will access the tab “Virtual devices“of the left frame. In it we will press the button”New…“in the right frame. The following window will appear.

In it we must indicate name which will have our Android virtual machine (mine is Honeycomb), the version of Android that we want to install using the “Target“(in my case the API Level Honeycomb), the size of the virtual micro SD card that our virtual machine will have (I have introduced 2048 MiB, that is, 2 Gb) and below, in “Skin“We can enter the screen resolution of our virtual machine, being advisable to leave the option that brings by default (a resolution WXGA in this case, tablet).

In the lower table of “Hardware“We can experiment by introducing various devices to our virtual machine, such as the inclusion of the GPS and other sensors, in addition to being able to modify the amount of RAM who will use the machine. This section, however, is very focused on a precise use for testing applications by Android programmers.

After configuring all this, we only have to press “Create AVD“and wait while the virtual machine is definitively configured. After finishing the creation, a message will appear confirming it and informing us of the hardware that said machine has.

It will now appear in the list of SDK Manager to be executed, we will do this by clicking on it, and then on the button “Start …“from the right frame of the window, after this a launch window will appear where we will confirm its execution with the button”Launch“.

We have already run our first Android virtual machine. Comment that, obviously, we can create and delete as many versions of the machine as we want, modifying hardware and other configurations at will.

After reaching this point, and finally, having been able to test Android on your computer, perhaps the bug of this universe with green Google antennas bites you even more and you decide to continue creating your first applications for the system. Nothing is impossible, Cheer up!

We leave you with the complete gallery of screenshots that we have taken for the realization of this tutorial.

More information | Android Developers