How to emulate Android on your PC

Posted: February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

Wish you could see what Android’s all about or to test a particular feature without having to shell out for yet another device? There are plenty of good, free ways to emulate Android on the PCs you already own!

Genymotion is a hardware-accelerated Android emulator that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. It’s designed to let you play with Android on top-selling devices, which makes it a good choice for developers. That said, if you’re looking for a full-screen solution, Genymotion isn’t for you.

The free Android x86 project is an even better option. Generic .ISO files are offered, as are a handful of images that have been customised to support specific x86 laptops and tablets. If you don’t have spare hardware laying around to install on, don’t fret. The generic .ISO works nicely inside VirtualBox (also a free download) and you can run Android x-86 as a live CD — no need to do a full install just to play around with it. Androidx-86 even includes access to Google Play.

Windroy is a lot like Android-x86, but you don’t have to bother with a setting up VirtualBox and a virtual machine. Just download the .EXE and install it. Launch the app, and you’ll “boot” into a full-screen Android experience. Access to the Play Store isn’t part of the package, but installing the Amazon Appstore is easy enough to do.

Windows and Mac users who just want to be able to use Android apps — and not the whole OS — can download and installBlueStacks. The BlueStacks runtime allows you to run just about any Android app inside Windows or OS X just like native apps.

Bluestacks also offers Cloud Connect in the Play Store, and it lets you automatically sync apps from your phone back to your PC.

 

AndroidBy  Jan. 31, 2014 5:55 pm
android-x86
Wish you could see what Android’s all about or to test a particular feature without having to shell out for yet another device? There are plenty of good, free ways to emulate Android on the PCs you already own!

Genymotion is a hardware-accelerated Android emulator that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. It’s designed to let you play with Android on top-selling devices, which makes it a good choice for developers. That said, if you’re looking for a full-screen solution, Genymotion isn’t for you.

The free Android x86 project is an even better option. Generic .ISO files are offered, as are a handful of images that have been customised to support specific x86 laptops and tablets. If you don’t have spare hardware laying around to install on, don’t fret. The generic .ISO works nicely inside VirtualBox (also a free download) and you can run Android x-86 as a live CD — no need to do a full install just to play around with it. Androidx-86 even includes access to Google Play.

Windroy is a lot like Android-x86, but you don’t have to bother with a setting up VirtualBox and a virtual machine. Just download the .EXE and install it. Launch the app, and you’ll “boot” into a full-screen Android experience. Access to the Play Store isn’t part of the package, but installing the Amazon Appstore is easy enough to do.

Windows and Mac users who just want to be able to use Android apps — and not the whole OS — can download and installBlueStacks. The BlueStacks runtime allows you to run just about any Android app inside Windows or OS X just like native apps.

Bluestacks also offers Cloud Connect in the Play Store, and it lets you automatically sync apps from your phone back to your PC.

bluestacks

The downside with BlueStacks is that it’s free for now. They’ve actively been seeking out OEMs (like Asus and Lenovo) that want to partner up, so it’s very likely that it eventually become payware like the “free” antivirus bloat Windows PC buyers have grown accustomed to over the years.There’s also the official Android SDK, which you can download from Google. It’s obviously intended for developer use, but there is an emulator included that lets you try Android out on your PC. Its performance isn’t on par with Android-x86 and Windroy, either.

And then if emulation really isn’t your thing, you can always buy a cheap HDMI dongle or a phone or tablet off of a site like Geekbuying or Pandawill. The budget-priced Rockchip and MediaTek devices vendors are selling out of China actually perform quite well.

Know another way to experiment with Android? Share it in the comments!

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