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Google has upgraded its Android emulator for developers with hardware acceleration and support for a broader range of inputs, the company announced today on the Android Developers Blog.
“The Android emulator is a key tool for Android developers in building and testing their apps,” Android team members Xavier Ducrohet and Reto Meier wrote on the blog. “As the power and diversity of Android devices has grown quickly, it’s been hard for the emulator keep pace. Today we’re thrilled to announce several significant improvements to the emulator, including a dramatic performance upgrade and support for a broader range of hardware features, notably sensors and multi-finger input.”
One of the biggest improvements is built-in GPU support. Android devices are increasingly relying on the graphics chip to boost performance, so now the emulator will be able to take advantage of hardware acceleration to create a more realistic simulation. As an added bonus, OpenGL apps can now run inside the emulator.
Another improvement is new hardware support to better test apps. Developers can tether an Android device and a test an app in the emulator using inputs on the tethered device.
There’s also added CPU performance in the emulator. Ducrohet and Reto Meier write:
We’ve also improved the CPU performance of the Android emulator. Hardware floating point operation has been available for system images since Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), allowing CPU operations to be emulated roughly twice as quickly. Last week’s r17 developer tools release included x86 system images and host drivers (available through the SDK Manager), allowing the emulator to access the host CPU natively and offer significantly faster execution. We’re working on providing emulator support for more hardware features including Bluetooth and NFC.
Check out the videos below to see the new emulator in action: