Monday, October 22, 2012

A faster alternative to the Android SDK Emulator to test apps

If you have done any development for the Android platform, then you would probably have found the Android SDK emulator to be very slow sometimes for the newer Android OS versions - Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean, especially if no snapshot is used. Recently, AMD and BlueStacks released the BlueStacks Android Player that can run Android apps on Windows. It can be downloaded from http://bluestacks.com/.

The player can run apps at a more reasonable speed than the emulator on my aging notebook. Since it runs faster, I spend less time waiting and therefore it gives me better productivity in testing my Android apps. On the other hand, you cannot step through your Android code interactively and debug your Android application. To do that, you still have to use the Eclipse IDE and the Android SDK's emulator or an actual physical Android handset.

The following screenshots show how an Android APK file can be installed into the BlueStacks Android Player.
  1. First, start up the BlueStacks Player by selecting Start | All Programs | BlueStacks | Start BlueStacks.

    The AMD AppZone Player, Powered by BlueStacks application appears.
  2. Use the Windows Explorer and browse to the folder containing an Android APK file.

  3. Double click on it.

    The Android app is installed into the BlueStacks Player.
  4. If you don't see it in the player, then click the My Apps icon.

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