Ask mobile developers who work with both iOS and Android, and you'll probably hear from more than a few of them that the Android emulator is lacking. From poor performance to inconsistencies, there have been no shortage of complaints about the tool developers are provided with to test their Android apps prior to testing them on a real device.

So Google is doing what you'd expect it to do and trying to improve its emulator.

Yesterday, Google's Android engineering team announced a number of improvements to the Android emulator that it hopes will help developers build and test their apps more efficiently. These improvements include:

  • Improved CPU performance. Google says its new x86 system images and host drivers "offer significantly faster execution" of apps in the emulator.
  • Built-in GPU support. Google says this provides for significant performance gains.
  • A greater level of hardware feature emulation. Now, a tethered device's sensor and multi-touch inputs can be used with the emulator, with support for Bluetooth and NFC coming soon.

Needless to say, Android developers, particularly those left disappointed by the Android emulator in the past, will most likely welcome these improvements. Google, of course, will continue to need to make them, and make them much faster than it has in the past, if it hopes to keep developers on side.

The reality for platform companies hoping to compete in the app ecosystem today is that it's not just enough to provide developers with adequate tooling; developer experience is key. Developer experience covers everything from development tools like IDES and emulators to app store submission and revenue sharing, and with companies like Microsoft trying to be more developer-friendly, the bar for developer experience is only going higher.

Patricio Robles

Published 10 April, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)



I would say that this is the best key tool for the android developers in testing the tools. As well its features is amazing. By seeing CPU definitely they have developed.

about 6 years ago



It is nice to have an emulator, but my android sdk emulator has a flaw.

Open/close an image. Then, open the next 2nd/3rd causes outOfMemory errors. Even having too many images in the drawable folder, causes this memory error.

Need to increase the memory heap size. Get this message before the memory error: 904392-byte external allocation too large for this process.

This is okay on the smartphone.

Is this google emulator the same as what I downloaded from Android SDK?

If not, where can I download this?

about 6 years ago



this update gives better UI for android developers. Thanks for sharing..

about 6 years ago

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