In November, Google unveiled Android Studio 2.0, the second major version of its integrated development environment (IDE). Version 2.0, which is still in preview, adds a slew of improvements, one of which is a faster Android emulator. But you haven’t been able to try it out, until now.
If you’re an Android developer, the new emulator is meant to help you test your app on a wide range of screens sizes and configurations — including the latest Android versions — in addition to the physical Android hardware you have. To get an early preview of the new Android Emulator, which you can use along with the new version of ADB for faster APK installation and file transfers, check out this guide: Android Emulator Preview.
The emulator improvements are as follows:
- CPU Performance: CPU acceleration on x86 emulator system images is now used by default. Combined with new Symmetric Multi-Processor (SMP) support in Android 6.0 Marshmallow system images, the Android emulators can perform even faster than many physical Android devices. Multi-core support means faster apps and speeds up common developer tasks, such as installing APKs.
- Faster ADB: When you use Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher system images with the new Android Emulator, you can now push files across ADB up to five times faster than with a real device. This is particularly useful for pushing large APKs or files during app development cycles.
- Toolbar: Some of the most common emulator actions are available in a new toolbar and control panel, instead of just the command line.
- Window Zooming & Scaling: You can now resize your window simply by dragging a corner, as well as zoom and scroll to get a closer look at a portion of your screen.
- Drag & Drop: You can do this to install APKs, as well as to move any file to your emulator’s internal SD card.
- Extended UI Controls: These additional options help you validate and test features in your app, including making a virtual call, sending a virtual SMS, or controlling the power level of the emulator. You can also send a single GPS location point to the emulator or play back a custom set of KML or GPX points.
So in short, the new emulator brings significant speed and performance improvements, a new easier-to-use interface, and a new version of ADB for faster APK installation and file transfers to the emulator. And the best part is that Google says more features are still on the way.
That said, Google isn’t sharing when it expects to release Android Studio 2.0 in the stable channel. We’re betting it will be ready in time for the company’s I/O developer conference next year.