Before we start creating mobile applications, we need to prepare a testing environment in which we will be able to test and debug our apps.
We have two options:
1. Use of the physical device
2. Use of physical device emulators.
It is necessary to run and test an application on a physical device before passing it to “Google Play” or “App Store”.
But in the everyday development process, we can use emulators.
The use of emulators is more convenient because:
– we do not have to connect a physical device every time.
– we can see a working application on a computer screen with larger dimensions than a physical device.
– we can test the application on different types of emulated devices (in different resolutions, hardware parameters, e.g. memory, processor, etc.).
We should be aware that the emulator is nothing more than a virtual machine created by programmers imitating a physical device. Therefore, emulators cannot replace the physical device. It can be used as a convenient help in the everyday developing process.
It should also be mentioned that the use of emulators is convenient only when they use hardware acceleration. Otherwise, the emulator will run too slowly and debugging and testing will be a “torment”.
When it comes to the emulators of Android’s devices, we currently have the following options:
• Emulators created and distributed by Google and Intel.
• Emulators created by GenyMotion.
• Emulators created by Microsoft to use with Visual Studio IDE.
- Emulators created and shared by Google and Intel.
Probably the most commonly used emulators for development purposes.
These emulators have the ability to log into the Google Play store and download applications from it.
In order to speed up the work of emulators, the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (Intel HAXM) is used and it uses Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) hardware.
Emulators can be installed by:
• Installation of the Android Studio IDE.
It is available at https://developer.android.com/studio/
• Installation or modification of Visual Studio 2017
The following emulators will be installed when options below are selected in the Visual Studio Installer: Android 6.0 Marshmallow (Level 23), Android 7.1 Nougat (Level 25), Android 8.1 Oreo (Level 27) and Intel HAXM engine.
In order to launch Google emulators in Windows 10 we should use one of the options below:
– turn off Hype-V feature in Windows features.
– add an additional option to start Windows in Hypervisor mode and without Hypervisor mode in the Windows bootloader menu. More on this topic here.
– install the latest version of Visual Studio 2017 at least 15.8.0. From version 15.8.0, we have the option of running Google x86 emulators without having to disable Hyper-V. More on this topic: Hardware Acceleration for Emulator Performance (Hyper-V & HAXM)
Sometimes there are problems with enabling the “Windows Hypervisor Platform” option. In this case, you must take additional steps: Android Emulator Troubleshooting.
2. Emulators created by GenyMotion.
These are very good emulators unfortunately, they are not free.
However there is a way to use them in a free version only for personal purposes.
You can download it at: https://www.genymotion.com/fun-zone/
3. Emulators created by Microsoft to use with Visual Studio IDE.
Microsoft created emulators with Android up to version 6.0 Marshmallow (Level 23). In order to test applications on newer Android systems, you must therefore install Google or GenyMotion emulators.
These emulators use Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization software.
The Hype-V software exclusively uses Intel VT hardware technology.
In order to install the emulator, the option “Visual Studio Emulator for Android” should be selected in the Visual Studio 2017 Installer: