If you’ve used the Android SDK, you’ve probably noticed that Intel Atom x86 system images for the emulator have been available for a while now. You might have been frustrated with the fact that the system image didn’t include access to any of the Google APIs. I have good news: Google has released an x86 system image for the Android SDK that includes the Google APIs (supporting API 19/Android 4.4.2). That means you can now test your apps that use Google APIs on an x86 virtual device image (and take advantage of the huge hardware acceleration speed boost you get from our HAXM driver if your development system has Intel VT virtualization technology).
Here’s what you need to do to get it.
Get the x86 System Image with Google APIs
To get the x86 system image with Google APIs, open up the Android SDK Manager window in Eclipse, Go to the “Android 4.4.2/API 19” section, and install both “Intel x86 Atom System Image” and “Google APIs (x86 System Image)“, like so:
Install the packages as usual, following the on screen prompts.
Create (or Edit) an Android Virtual Device With The New Image
Once the new system image is installed, you’ll need to create a new Android Virtual Device (AVD) for the emulator to use (you can also edit an existing AVD, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader). Open up the Android Virtual Device Manager window in Eclipse, then click New to create a new virtual device, configured to use the new system image, like so:
The important setting is “Target:”. Make sure you select “Google APIs x86 (Google Inc.) – API Level 19“. You can configure the other settings according to your needs.
Bonus: Use HAXM To Get Hardware Acceleration of x86 Emulator Images
If you’re not already using it, you’re going to want to get our HAXM (Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager) tool, which can drastically speed up the emulator in the Android SDK. From the product page:
The Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (Intel® HAXM) is a hardware-assisted virtualization engine (hypervisor) that uses Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) to speed up Android app emulation on a host machine. In combination with Android x86 emulator images provided by Intel and the official Android SDK Manager, HAXM allows for faster Android emulation on Intel VT enabled systems.
If you’re developing on a machine with an Intel CPU that has VT (most do – go here if you need to check) and you have installed HAXM, you’ll know it’s working if you see the following when you start your Android Virtual Device:
If you see “HAX is working and emulator runs in fast virt mode”, you’re all set – you should notice a significant improvement in the speed of emulated devices using x86 Android system images.
If you have any questions or need help with getting these system images installed, or getting the emulator or HAXM working, please let us know. Leave a comment here, or better yet, check in our Android forum to see if someone has already asked your question and gotten an answer. If not, post it there, and we’ll do our best to help you out.
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