An alternative to the Android Emulator

Are you tired of using the official Android emulator? If so, then Genymotion comes with a rescue!

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Overview

The story begins when I forgot to take my Android device from work. I still wanted to do some development at home but when I thought about the android emulator, I simply turned my computer off and went out.

Yes, the official android’s emulator is a nightmare. There’s no practical use for this tool. In comparison with the iOS simulator, Google’s emulator is on the far end and nothing from the Google’s Android Team hints that it will change in the near future.

But there is a light in a tunnel. Well… Someone called it Genymotion.

It’s a free, cross platform (Windows32/64 bits, Linux 32/64 bits, MacOS X 10.5+) tool for running Android apps on your computer. The main advantage of Genymotion is that it runs Android on a virtual machine, unlike the stock emulation, which is a long process of translating the execution to different architectures.

Main features of Genymotion:

– OpenGL acceleration

– Full screen option

– Manageable sensors (Battery level/status, GPS, Accelerator)

– Fully compatible with ADB

– Configurable virtual devices

– Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA Plugins

Installation

First of all, you should go here (https://cloud.genymotion.com/page/launchpad/download/) and download latest Genymotion build for your platform. Genymotion requires VirtualBox installed – you can download it independently or in one bundle form the site above. Using and downloading Genymotion require user registration. Double click on downloaded bundle and installation wizard will guide you through a few simple steps.

Running the simulator

If you open up an application, the main screen will appear:

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After clicking “Yes”, the “Create a new virtual device” screen will appear:

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If you are connected to Genymotion Cloud (with credentials provided for registration), you can choose a virtual device to run from a list in that screen.

In the next step the downloading will proceed and after it is complete, you can run your virtual device.

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Performance

For testing purposes I used a sample Android application which can be downloaded from here (https://github.com/steveliles/dsl4xml-perf-android/downloads)

Basically, the application tests performance of XML file parsers for Android. The XML file being parsed is 500 lines in length, and the test measures how many XML files could be parsed in the time of one second.

The test crashes on the official Android emulator (on various Android versions) which means…

Please see results below and make your own conclusion :)

Here are the results.

real_device

Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini GT-I8190 Android 4.1.2

genymotion

Genymotion Virtual Device Android 4.1.1

If you look at the graphs again, you will see that all dependencies between parsers are kept.

So, in both cases SAX is the best one and W3C DOM’s performance is still poor which means tests are trustworthy.

The performance of the virtual device is almost two times better than the real device.

I know that you are trying to pull yourself together, but don’t waste your time and install Genymotion :)

  • soneill34

    One comment about Genymotion is that the Genymotion 2.0 releases do not support the Google APIs, so you will be unable to test any of the Google Services thus severely limiting the uses for this.

  • poöhvhb

    10.5?