Learn how to emulate any Android device on a Windows PC using the Android SDK from Google. This SDK, apart from being the Android developers primary resource, also allows them to emulate any Android device on their Windows PC. However, the Android SDK’s ability to emulate any Android device on a PC or laptop has some great uses for non-techie Android enthusiasts too.
Why emulate any Android device on a Windows PC
It is no secret that Android smartphones and tablets have become a regular part and parcel of our lives. Can you imagine going through a few hours, let alone a single day, without fiddling with your Galaxy S4? Think about not being able to manage your entertainment devices from your HTC One! What if you are on holiday and are unable to take panoramic photos using your phone’s Photosphere feature? The answers to the above prove that it has become increasingly difficult for us to not have an Android device handy. Add to this the fact that our favorite mobile operating system, Android, gives us access to tons of cool apps.
The Android OS has become so powerful and popular that it is difficult to imagine a world without Android apps helping our lives in some way or the other. All these apps have been coming to us from a vast fraternity of developers. It is these skilled men and women who, having dedicated their lives to leverage Android’s open architecture, keep amazing us with awesome apps. How do they do it? They use the Android SDK. This SDK will emulate any Android device on their computers, so that the developers can run their tests and dry runs for a variety of phones and tablets. Okay, all that dev talk might not seem very interesting to many of us humble souls. Why should we bother about how to emulate any Android Device on a PC or a laptop?
Eventually, all we want is a good Android-based smartphone or tablet. We want to stay in touch with our friends on the latest Android social network apps. We want to cook up a delicious dinner with help from the various recipe apps from the Playstore. We want to unwind after a tough day by playing the latest Android games. And, we can do all that and more from our Android phone or tablet. However, what if you find that a particular app that you are dying to try out is incompatible with your current Android device? What if you want to experience the latest Android version, but it is not yet available for your device? What if you own a non-Android device and still want to try out the amazing apps from the PlayStore? What if you don’t own an Android device, but want to get a feel of it before buying a particular device? Well folks, the very same Android SDK, that helps dev gurus to emulate any Android device, will help you overcome the above “What if’s”. By installing the SDK on your Windows PC, you are basically creating an Android Virtual Environment on you Windows machine.
Using this virtual environment, you can now emulate any Android device, whether its a Nexus 7, a Nexus 10, a Galaxy Nexus or any other custom device. Once you emulate any Android device, you can run any Android App on your PC. You can use the latest Android version on your emulated device. You can play any Android game on your PC. You can try out any app on your PC before installing it on your precious smart device. In short, you can have a superior Android experience without actually owning or working on the real thing. Now, how cool is that!
How to Emulate any Android device on your Windows PC
The SDK will run on Windows XP (32-bit)/Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)/Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit) versions. Also make sure that you have atleast JDK 6 installed. If your computer meets these requirements then please go right ahead.
Step 1: Get the software package
Google makes this easy, even for non-techies, by providing a single bundle called the ADT Bundle or Android Development Tools Bundle. Download the correct bundle as per your Windows version from here.
Step 2: Installing the ADT package
Once your download is through, unzip the compressed file containing the ADT bundle and save it to a directory of your choice. Open the sub-directory Eclipse and launch the application Eclipse. This could take a while depending on the speed and memory of your computer, so be patient.
Step 3: Installing the SDK Manager
From the available menu select Window and then Android SDK Manager. Run the SDK Manager.exe file from the root directory of your unzipped directory. You can now select the latest Android packages, for instance Android 4.3 (API 18) and accept all license agreements. Click on Install.
Step 4: Create the AVD or Android Virtual Device to emulate any Android device
Once the selected packages are installed, select “Manage AVDs” from the Tools menu of the SDK Manager. This will open a new window, wherein you will click on “New”, which will in turn open a new form. This AVD will now let you emulate any Android device on your computer
Give a suitable name to the AVD and select any device (like the Galaxy Nexus) that you want to emulate. Select the Android Package in the Target field and fill in the rest of the fields according to your machine’s capability. Click OK and the AVD will be created. You can create many such virtual devices to emulate any Android device, like the Nexus 7 or the Nexus 4. You can also create your own device from the “Device definitions” tab by using specs of your favorite Android phone or tablet.
Step 5: Start the Android Emulator and emulate any Android device
Select the respective AVD and click Start. The Android OS will be launched and soon you will have that familiar Home interface of your favorite Android device. You can now use this emulated version to install apps from the PlayStore, play Android games on your PC, and explore the device settings etc. You can do all this without having the actual device.
A note of caution though! When you emulate any Android device on your PC and access the PlayStore, its better to use a new Google account rather than your regular Google account that you use on your own Android device. This is so because Google will synchronize your physical device and the virtual device if you use the same account for both. Also, the amount of computer memory and CPU performance will greatly effect the AVD’s performance. Having said that, overall, this is an amazing way of exploring new devices or apps. Will you be trying to emulate any Android device on your windows PC. Let us know of your experience and keep coming back for more Android how-to’s and tips.