Android virtual device – Emulator

The Android SDK includes a mobile device emulator — a virtual mobile device that runs on your computer. The emulator lets you develop and test Android applications without using a physical device. The word “emulator” was first coined in 1963 at IBM[15] during development of the NPL (IBM 360) product line, using a “new combination of software, microcode, and hardware”. IBM discovered that using microcode hardware instead of software simulation, to execute programs written for earlier IBM computers, dramatically increased simulation speed. Earlier in 1957, IBM provided the IBM 709 computer with an interpreter program (software) to execute legacy programs written for the IBM 704 to run on the IBM 709 and later on the IBM 7090[17] In 1963, when microcode was first used to speed up this simulation process, IBM engineers coined the term “emulator” to describe the concept.

You can configure the version of the Android system you would like to run, the size of the SD card, the screen resolution and other relevant settings. You can define several of them with different configurations.  These devices are called Android Virtual Device and you can start several in parallel.

Google vs. Android AVD

During the creation of an AVD you decide if you want an Android device or a Google device.  An AVD created for Android will contain the programs from the Android Open Source Project. An AVD created for the Google API’s will also contain several Google applications, most notable the Google Maps application.  If you want to use functionality which is only provided via the Google API’s, e.g. Google Maps you must run this application on an AVD with Google API’s. The emulator supports a variety of options that you can specify when launching the emulator

Keyboard Commands

Table  summarizes the mappings between the emulator keys and the keys of your keyboard.

Table:  Emulator keyboard mapping

Emulated Device Key Keyboard Key
Menu (left softkey) F2 or Page-up button
Star (right softkey) Shift-F2 or Page Down
Back ESC
Call/dial button F3
Hangup/end call button F4
Search F5
Power button F7
Audio volume up button KEYPAD_PLUS, Ctrl-F5
Audio volume down button KEYPAD_MINUS, Ctrl-F6
Camera button Ctrl-KEYPAD_5, Ctrl-F3
Switch to previous layout orientation (for example, portrait, landscape) KEYPAD_7, Ctrl-F11
Switch to next layout orientation (for example, portrait, landscape) KEYPAD_9, Ctrl-F12
Toggle cell networking on/off F8
Toggle code profiling F9 (only with -trace startup option)
Toggle fullscreen mode Alt-Enter
Toggle trackball mode F6
Enter trackball mode temporarily (while key is pressed) Delete
DPad left/up/right/down KEYPAD_4/8/6/2
DPad center click KEYPAD_5
Onion alpha increase/decrease KEYPAD_MULTIPLY(*) / KEYPAD_DIVIDE(/)

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About author

This article was written by admin

Admin has over twenty years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. A frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and author of numerous technical articles. Working presently as Development Manager in India. A firm Believer in Knowledge grows when it shared.


Comments (1)
  1. jalaja says - Posted: July 15, 2013

    This tutorial is very good…………………thanks for your information…..

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